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Old 08-24-2011, 11:09 AM
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Letís just suppose that the United States does suffer an economic meltdown. Along with this, thereís also a complete breakdown of civil order, and even the military is powerless to bring things under control.

Due to the population density of the eastern states, many will find themselves in direct competition for shelter, water, and food. This competition will most likely be life threatening up to and including dying from lack of to outright murdered, raped, and pillaged for basic resources.

The only solution available to many survivalists would be to bug out into the Appalachian Mountains. For example, I live 1 Ĺ miles south Appalachian Trail in rural Pennsylvania. Iím not talking about hiding a cache of water and food. Iíd simply live off the land. Iíd use one of many fresh mountain streams, and boil/distil the water to make potable water. There are enough fish, game, and I know of a few edible wild plants to provide me with what I need.

In this forum, weíve discussed five and ten piece kits. With a basic five piece kit, as agreed upon by most real world survivalists, one would already have a cutting device, combustion device for fire, container for boiling/carrying drinking water, a covering device for improvised shelter, and cordage for making all sorts of improvised things, which would include, baited traps, snares, and fishing. With a small ten-piece kit, one could get by with relative ease in the eastern woodlands. If I packed 60 lbs worth of gear (no food or water included in the 60 lbs) and clothing for all four seasons, I, for example, could live up there indefinitely, and quite comfortably. Toss in one or more people with basic survival knowledge, and itís the safest option I can think of.

Most of the competition for resources will take place in urban, suburban, and rural farms. I seriously doubt that marauders will waste their time going after people up in the mountains in order to steal a survivalistís daily supply of water, wild game, and edible wild plants. I also suspect that any other like-minded people encountered in the mountains would be a lot friendlier than anything in the valleys below.

Most people donít have a yacht or a private plane to escape to some secluded area. Moreover, they donít have the resources to build a bunker, stockpile it, and make it loot proof, so Iíd like to confine the area of operations to the Appalachian Mountains/Trail. From Georgia up the coast to Maine, there are fourteen states this area encompasses. Since weíre talking about such a large area, many people live within walking/hiking distance or a very short drive from this area.

Would you think that many others people have this very same idea? Any and all ideas about this topic are welcome. Thank you and enjoy.

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Old 08-24-2011, 12:10 PM
Location: The Triad (NC)
23,900 posts, read 51,421,770 times
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Have you ever read Fred Reed?

Originally Posted by Fred
Mostly I guess they are fairly miserable. Leastways the ones I've known could distinguish between McDowell and paradise. But at least they're miserable on their own terms, and I'm not sure they are any more miserable than the rest of us.
Fred On Everything
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Old 08-24-2011, 12:18 PM
Location: Between Seattle and Portland
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Great post and a thoughtful analysis of a strategy that is one of the favorite fantasies of survivalists.

I say "fantasies" because I believe the whole concept of "bugging out" suffers from the realities of WEATHER and DISEASE, along with COMPETITION.

What about snow storms? Mosquito or tick bites? Other survivalists with the same idea in "your" territory will claim hunting territories, battles will ensue, and the resources will be depleted.

I'd like to hear your feedback on this man's experience, as one example why your plan cannot work "indefinitely" if some sort of economic collapse is widespread:

Bugging out to the wilderness Ė Survival Forum SHTF Survivalist Blog
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Old 08-24-2011, 01:56 PM
Location: Backwoods of Maine
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I, too, tend to agree with stonecypher. It's an appealing scenario, but we all tend to romanticize the realities away. I never actually thought anyone here on this forum would put forth such a plan.

Mind you, I agree that the cities and 'burbs, as well as many small farming communities will be dangerous places to be, due to the criminal element. I also agree that city gangs will fan out and be on the prowl. Would the Appalachians be a good place to weather the storm? Probably many places up there would be, but not by "mountain men" freshly out of city-slickerhood. Do not underestimate the value of a roof over your head, no matter how humble. Almost any red-blooded guy I know of is capable of building an 8X8 wooden building with a shed roof, and one or two people can live there for quite some time. Much safer and more sanitary than grubbing around outdoors.

That said, the "mountain man" idea sure is appealing and romantic!
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Old 08-24-2011, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by stonecypher5413 View Post
Great post and a thoughtful analysis of a strategy that is one of the favorite fantasies of survivalists.

I say "fantasies" because I believe the whole concept of "bugging out" suffers from the realities of WEATHER and DISEASE, along with COMPETITION.

What about snow storms? Mosquito or tick bites? Other survivalists with the same idea in "your" territory will claim hunting territories, battles will ensue, and the resources will be depleted.

I'd like to hear your feedback on this man's experience, as one example why your plan cannot work "indefinitely" if some sort of economic collapse is widespread:

Bugging out to the wilderness – Survival Forum SHTF Survivalist Blog
I’m glad you enjoyed the post, now let’s get into it:

Let me state what the original purpose of this thread was not. This thread is geared towards people that already have basic survival skills developed as well as an everyday carry kit. It’s not intended for Joe city/suburban dweller that neither has the kit nor the skills to use it. I’m not implying that the average person can go out and survive. Additionally, I chose the most heavily populated area of the United States, the east coast. Since the Appalachians dominate this area, and it’s also remote, I wondered if anybody else was considering a plan to bug out into the mountains, so that’s why I tailored this thread to survivalists and the Appalachian Mountains.

First and foremost, in a true economic collapse, the entire system will breakdown. Hence ”WEATHER, DISEASE, and COMPETITION” will affect those in heavily populated areas exponentially harder than those in remote heavily forested areas. Moreover, I suspect that people stuck in heavily populated areas will suffer from dozens of diseases that won’t be present in remote mountain areas where the population density is less than one person per square mile. Since city water and sewer will probably fail in a scenario like this, water borne illness that’s normally not fatal will kill in a survival situation. Then there’s the raw sewer, and in addition, rotting corpses of humans and the family pets and wildlife that have become dependent upon us for survival. I’d rather take my chances of a mechanical injury in the wilderness than face all that I’ve just described, and I’ve only lightly touched on it.

I haven’t been throughout all of the Appalachians, so I must resign myself to speaking about how they are here in Central Pennsylvania.

Potable water: I covered the basic survival tools needed. Boiling water is the single most effective way to purify water. The water coming out of the mountain springs is probably safe to drink as is, but boiling it will ensure an endless supply of safe potable water. In the 5Cs of survivability, a container for purifying water and then carrying it is key. It’s in any real survivalist’s basic five piece kit (5Cs). Cutting device, combustion device, cover, cordage, CONTAINER Stainless steel 18/8 food grade water bottles are abundant and cheap (I’ve seen four 27 oz. bottles like I’ve described on sale for 20 dollars). With a piece of cork, and a small length of tube, a water distillation device can easily be fabricated. It’s part of my kit, and has little impact on space and weight.

Heat: The article you’ve provided took place in Texas where it’s significantly hotter and always more humid than any place in the Appalachian Mountains. For example, despite the fact that the east coast of North Carolina has similar weather as southeastern Texas, in the Appalachians of western N.C., there are cities that have cooler year round average temperatures and more than twice the annual snowfall than many northern cities. Hence, it doesn’t get very hot here. On the rare occasions when the mercury hits 100 degrees in the valleys, it feels 20 degrees cooler underneath the shade of a deciduous forest.

Blizzards: I’ve weathered blizzards with 10-degree temperatures and 60 mph winds for hours on end. I’ve done so without the aid of shelter or fire. It’s about dressing right, and there’s no need for Arctic gear. If anybody would like a further explanation, I’ll go into detail. Any basic survivalist can answer this question. Shelter and fire will protect you from this scenario.

Monotonous Diet: It’s still a sustainable diet nonetheless. The Appalachians abound with all sorts of things to survive on. Native American fish traps and trout lines take little energy to construct, and they fish for you 24/7. This is also true of improvised traps and snares. It’s a calorie game. A survivalist knows how to set basic traps that take the least amount of energy to construct, and once done, they do the work for you.

Mosquitoes and ticks: Even during the hottest days of summer, it’s like I’ve stated earlier, the summers here are quite mild underneath the forest’s canopy, so wearing long pants and shirts isn’t uncomfortable. Mosquito netting for the head isn’t a big expense, deal, or uncomfortable to wear. Additionally, a jar of Vick’s VapoRub isn’t very expensive, and it wards off all biting insects. Additionally, it cannot be sweated off, and it will last for days if it’s not washed off with soap and water. Unlike other bug repellants with DDTs, it’s not only effective, but it’s also non-toxic and cannot be absorbed through the skin.

The territorial rights: I just don’t see this as a plausible scenario. With countless acreage of farms in the valleys, why would people trek deep into remote areas. For example, in my area, I can walk into the middle of tens of thousands of acres of State Game Lands. There are no trails heading in. This area has to be hiked into. Considering that the lion’s share of people have no clue how to survive in the wilderness much less hunt and gut animals, why would some “marauding tribe” trek 20 – 40 miles from the closest city that’s only 25,000 people in population to hunt mountainous areas when there are thousands of square miles of plunder and also farmland to hunt in the valleys below? You could be right; I just feel that it’s an unlikely scenario.

Last edited by bolillo_loco; 08-24-2011 at 02:21 PM..
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Old 08-24-2011, 02:24 PM
Location: Itinerant
4,229 posts, read 3,207,514 times
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Originally Posted by stonecypher5413 View Post
I say "fantasies" because I believe the whole concept of "bugging out" suffers from the realities of WEATHER and DISEASE, along with COMPETITION.
While I agree with a lot of your post, I think one of the "fantasies" is that through modern living you avoid these things, even now. The only reason people can drive after snowstorms is someone plows the streets, who would be doing that after an "Economic Holocaust"? The only reason people don't get Giardia, Crypto, Tularemia, West Nile, Dysentary, Typhoid, etc. is we have health services and clean water, who provides these after an "Economic Holocaust"? As for competition, well right now you can go get your groceries at the local store, but after an "Economic Holocaust" who's going to run a store, and where are they getting their produce, how much competition is going to exist for your little 20' square patch of potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, and beans? If you read the initial parameters of the OP, economic meltdown, civil disorder, etc. These issues will all exist regardless of where or how you're living.

If there is an economic meltdown, then that means that the last job someone does is turn off power to the grid, and the stop valve at the water plant. So there's only water you have on hand or can collect, and no power unless you generate your own.

However that said, bugging out is not the best strategy, however it's a lot better than bugging in, and infinitely better than hope.

The best strategy is to be settled in an area, that you know, is productive, is remote enough, defensible, with clean water supplies, and has others in the area that have similar goals and experiences. That way you already know the weather patterns and have dealt with them, you know local pest life and what to avoid, and you've staked your hunting claims already, and the locals are more likely to back you up as needed (even as the town drunk), over some newcomer who lands and lays claim without any discussion, you're a known quantity, the newcomer is already on the back foot, because you know he's going to be parked in someone else's claim area..

Yes competition is going to exist if you bug out, both from people who already live in that area or even areas you're transitioning through. I often mention the rural wall, that urbanites/suburbanites are likely to hit in these situations, where rural dwellers blockade routes into and through their areas to prevent an urbanite invasion. Then there is competition from those who may be new transplants to that destination area.

If your strategy is that you survive a few weeks before someone comes through and gives you some help, given the OP Parameters then you're strategy is flawed. Aid if there is any, and it can be distributed will be supplied on a utilitarian basis. Which means big cities first, and the biggest cities too, with good transportation networks, and likely close Military support. If you're not located in one of those places then it could take months or more before any kind of aid gets to you, and if you move to one of those places, you run the risk of moving through someone elses territory, and robbers watching transportation routes.

Then local problems if you get to that aid, more people means lower rations per person distributed. Plus where do you live, where do you get water from, lots of people without any real waste management and processing means your risk of disease is much higher.

The criminal element also preys on these areas (both the aiders and those receiving the aid), with racketeering, human trafficking (it wouldn't be exactly difficult to transport an unwilling stereotypical American Cheerleader to the Middle East or Eastern Europe given that situation), prostitution, gambling, booze, drugs all based on an economy fueled on valuables people bring (weapons, ammunition, booze, drugs (both therapeutic and recreational), clothing, jewelry, gold, electronics, batteries etc.), services they're prepared to offer (violence, sex, skills and knowledge) and food.

You only need to look at Eastern Europe at and after the fall of communism, or the Balkans to realize that the type of collapse spoken about would take years if not decades to correct, and that what exits from the other side of that collapse, would not be the same US of A as went into it. You can also see the various "mafia's" that sprang up from those times in those countries to know that crime in those places is incredibly lucrative, the goods you supply are relatively cheap. It's food often stolen, or antibiotics also often stolen, with sidelines in racketeering which is pure profit, prostitution which is also pure profit, booze and drugs, and the prices you charge can be exorbitant. Kids got a fever, a $1.50 course of penicillin will cost you that 0.5 carat diamond engagement ring, or you can wait in the clinic line now and you might be seen in a couple of days, you can't leave and lose your place, your kid can't die either, and then if they have the drugs he might get treated.
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Old 08-24-2011, 04:26 PM
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
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Actually the economic melt down has happened in American History, the Great Depression. That saw thousands unable to get work and riding the rails looking for something to eat, a place to sleep or the chance to chop wood or clean a barn for a meal.

Many of the fiscal security nets in place now were started in the 1930's, but now mainstays like Social Security are collapsing slowly in on itself. If Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, the infinite welfare programs for food/housing/ etc can no longer be funded, look at the number of people with no job skills being turned out into the street as well as the elderly and those unable to work due to injury.
This situation is not as far fetched as it was a few years ago. With the world finances imploding under the weight of poor fiscal policies, it is very conceiveable that the monitary system could fail on a global scale and create another great depression.

In the case of another depression, while the government may not collapse, completely, they would be very restricted by lack of money to pay for police, water systems, sewer systems and to provide food shipments to the large population centers.
Social order will change we no longer have the factorys and other infrastructure to provide for ourselves. The farms and ranches these days are highly mechanized so it takes fewer people to operate, but they tie up large plots of land, and the food they produce will bring premium prices from starving people in the cities who cannot for one reason or another provide for themselves.

Looking at post World War II Europe and Aisia, or eastern Europe after the fall of the Soviet Empire are good ways to see what happens in this kind of situation.

The Individual retreating to the fastness of the remote areas can work for some folks, a rare few, but the vast majority of people do not have the skill set to survive in the wilderness, or even to survive without things like mass transportation, credit cards and mass produced food in the local discount store.

Not many people can make their own shoes or clothes, or make a shelter out of what you pick up off the ground. Many people have some gardening skills, but it takes a lot of food to keep someone alive through a year. Not many people know how to hunt or trap with primitive weapons they make themselves to hunt or for self protection. These are skill that are being lost due to automation and it takes time for the average person to learn what they need to do to just exist in a subsistance type civilization.
Law and order do break down and you have the rise of folks who prefer to steal the product of the labor of others instead of providing for themselves. It is not a pretty picture.

I could survive because that is the way I have always lived. Mac lives pretty much the same way. We know how to make do with very little and do well. We have done this for years, but take your average executive who knows computers and spreadsheets, would they survive? doubtful unless they found someone to teach them the necessary skills they would need.

It is a scary scenario that I for one pray never happens, but it has before and can again.

Just my 2 Cents.
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Old 08-24-2011, 04:39 PM
Location: St. Louis
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There is a major reason that I wouldn't go off by myself, even if I were a man. This is going to sound majorly politically incorrect but believe me, it has nothing to do with race and it won't this time, if it happens. The word is slavery. If oil gets unavailable, those in power will need a way to get work done and they will do whatever they have to do to stay on top, even if it means forcing people into labor. The reason we don't have much slavery in this day and age has nothing to do with us being more evolved. Nope, machines have replaced it.
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Old 08-24-2011, 06:56 PM
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I have been there and in the same mountain range just nawth more.

There was 5 feet of snow on the ground that winter, and I has old snow shoes, and if i didn't I would have made some from split ash and 550 cord in a few hours time.

To stop ticks which are more in high grass fields than in the woods you can check yourself over several times a day, which I still do and found 6 on me so far this season, all of them were walking but one, and that one hadn't got a good hold on the bite either. These are wood ticks not deer ticks and the medical professsion has not proved one way or the other if woods tick carry lymes.

What works for ticks, fleas, sketters, black flies, deer flies, horse flies and moose flies is oil. It can be coconut oil or bear oil, mixed with any color iron oxide you prefer. I prefer brick red, black, yellow and very bright red occasionally.

This also includes no-see-ums. What the oil does is stick them to you, and the die. Not a badd effect if you are not interested in making new friends.

What the black flie and no-see-ums do that oil doesn't stop is fly about 1/2' ahead of yer nose, which drives me nuts. The fix fer that is to create the wreath of a Cesar, with anything you can get that has leaves, and have a couple leaves extended about 6 inches from your nose, and they will fly out there in stead.

The problem with this is modern people will either take you for a wacko, which is fine by me, since I am not the fool suffering bites, or they will be scared and call what ever so called authority they think will 'do something'. I don't care much about that either.

That does in bugs and weather. Not any problem.

DISEASE, along with COMPETITION; well, as I often hear it as, "If shtf, we are coming here to live off the land!" from city slicks. I just laugh. They won't be in the high places, since you can't get a RV up there in the first place. They will gather, what ever of them make it thru any traffic jam will a load and any gas to 1/2 m ile off a road and that's it. Most won't make it past the traffic jam.

Disease is always a problem, but it depends on what it is. Of that, most of the cures my wife makes are worse than the disease, so I make sure I don't get sick. I have a wish here for the city slicks. Bury semi solids you emmit 6 inches deep, and cover IT please.

I use a stick as a tool, but you can buy a trowel, and camping stores have blaze orange trowels so you won't loose it. Also do yer bee's wax well past 200 feet from open waters.

If I encounter you and your wastes and I am fairly sure it is/was your waste, I will be, and have been pretty rude. Oh yeah get off the middle if the damnned trail too. I have found TP dead center in trails, from females, I can tell the difference.

At 6 inches down there is a layer of bacteria that will welcome your wastes, both kinds, and this way you can please them and me at the same time.
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:12 PM
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Silvertips, I can make a decent shelter in my woods on a whim, and spend as little or as much time as i wish to trick it all out Martha Stewart Style if i want.

I can't make decent shoes of much around here with plants though. I mean i could sort of, like cord up bark in little Russian Style Naval Matts, for a sandal like foot wear, but that wouldn't last very long, not like mocs do.

I can make up center seam mocs with raw or tanned deer hide in a couple hours, and so long as I have 2 feet I have that pattern.

One thing we are probably all lacking is salt, sugar, and pepper, and not everything can be smoked, and if it could in a short time the smoke flavor would be sickening.

One other point social folks don't seem to understand is loneliness and depression. Humans are not good at either one. Panic is another.

I recall seeing the first NH frost hit the high places in my 3rd winter, and knew it wasn't going to be like the 2 winters in Md. I wasn't worried i couldn't do it, but i was worried the woman who became my wife later couldn't do it, and that caused a pit in my gut which is panic. Maybe more anxiety, and that day it was a real nice late Fall day.

I have seen this many times before, and of all places a horse drawn logging pung re-fit to haul humans. Get out for a star light ride at -40 with everyone bundled up apx 22 to 24 people, and get out of electric lights and some of these people went mad in 45 minutes. Of course they came back to modern reality as soon as they could see lights again, but during the time away from light, they were just hysterical. This is my observation for 3.5 winters before I lived in a tee pee, and had 3 jobs to make ends meet for family 1.
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