Why is it that if someone brings up a discussion about the Best SHTF Vehicle, Best SHTF Weapon, or anything regarding bugout plans, bugout gear or tactics, you always have the idiot who is all or nothing?
I can think of a lot of examples, especially considering it happens pretty much every time a discussion comes up in any forum or even on Facebook but lemme give you an idea of what I’m talking about – and why that thinking is so idiotic.
Let’s say we’re talking about a portable solar panel for your bugout bag. It’s a great idea, and I always have one with me. Eventually, you’ll have some moron pipe up and say you’re all idiots because your iPad won’t be any good after an EMP (Electro-Magnetic Pulse) hits and all the cell towers will be down after the collapse of society – and don’t bother bringing a GPS either.
No shit. When they say ‘Plan for the worst and hope for the best,’ that doesn’t mean that it’s all or nothing, or that planning for the worst will automatically cover the best. There is a continuum of threats that you should be planning for, not just a worst-case scenario.
Unless you live in Antarctica, I bet you have a light jacket somewhere in your closet. Why’d you buy that instead of just getting a parka? Because you’re more likely to need it. This brings up a good point that you need to keep in mind after reading this article though, a light jacket won’t be enough if you somehow ended up in -75 degree temps. You just might have to invest in a parka as well, just make sure it hangs next to your jacket.
The problem is that the further along the continuum of possible threats to your safety and way of life, the less likely that event is to happen in almost all cases. If you’re only planning on TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It), at the expense of everything in-between, then you’re a shitty prepper. Much more likely is a regional or local disaster. Even more likely than that is a house fire or your car breaking down in the middle of nowhere. Are you ready for that? Do you have a plan for natural disasters that’ve happened in your area in the past couple hundred years in case they happen again?
In the cell phone example, how idiotic is it to not have a cell phone or a ham radio in your bag if you’re camping or driving your car outside of town and something happens – just because they wouldn’t work if the sun blasted a CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) in our direction? Same thing for a GPS. Sure, they won’t work if the World Powers take them out or that same CME destroys their circuitry – but what about in the meantime? By that thinking, we shouldn’t be prepping at all because it’s all irrelevant if a planet-killer asteroid hits the Earth. Just maintain balance here though in the other direction as well. Relying on technology without a more primitive backup plan could also have bad consequences. That’s why we still train with a compass in the Army – but carry a GPS plugger for expediency and accuracy in most cases.
Besides, there’s nothing wrong with bringing a little comfort and enjoyment into your SHTF planning as long as it’s done intelligently and not at the expense of things you need to survive. I love listening to nature but sometimes I just wanna listen to the Bangles. Don’t hate – you know you like them.
Granted, I think you should be thinking about worst-case scenarios in your planning, but you also need to consider the most likely scenarios and the scenarios that you’re most vulnerable if they do happen – that you can do something about.
The same kind of thing goes for your SHTF vehicle. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that you should just have a horse or a bicycle as your ultimate SHTF vehicle because either an EMP is gonna burn out the electronics in your car or all the roads will be impassable due to all the traffic. Is that the only contingency you’re planning on? Having a bicycle might be a good secondary or tertiary plan but as a primary plan, it’s pretty stupid. Just how much gear can you carry on a bike if things go bad? How hard would it be for someone to knock you off that bike and take the gear on your back? Can you use your bike as an emergency shelter along the way to your bugout location or wherever you’re trying to go? Think no one’s gonna notice you riding through town on your horses like John Wayne? +1 for creative thinking. -10 for not being able to think things through very well.
What you need to do is look at all the possible scenarios that you think have any chance of happening that you can do anything about. Lay them all out in order of how catastrophic they would be if they happened, and then rate each by how likely they are to happen. As you figure out solutions (called mitigations) to lessen the effects of these problems, try to find ones that will protect you from as many scenarios as possible.
If you can’t mitigate a threat, at least have a plan as to what you’re gonna do if they happen. If you break it down this way, you’ll quickly see that only planning for worst-case scenarios is a pretty crappy plan. It’s a plan that will leave you and your family vulnerable a LOT more than it’s going to help.
In addition, you shouldn’t focus your life on the worst-case doom and gloom of an upcoming apocalypse. It’ll turn away friends who’ll think you’re crazy and all that negativity will make you cranky. Nobody likes a cranky prepper.
Life is all about balance, and prepping is no exception. Balance your prepping life with your non-prepping life and balance your threat mitigations with how likely things are to happen, not just the worst that could happen.