Movement during SHTF situation

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  OldMt Woman 2 years ago.

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  • #6897

    Rich Sullivan

    I do not think this has been addressed enough on here but any advice on how does one move around especially if one has to go long distances, any advice that helps one that helps one travel without detection will surely be helpful. I know some of it will be common sense but I am really looking for methods that may not be obvious.

  • #6902

    John Park

    Great question.  I am no expert, but I have a few thoughts.
    1) The main roads will be unsafe, backroads might be safer but still not optimal.  I have used Google maps to create travel maps w/directions to get from the two non-home locations I am most likely to be at (two relatives homes).  First you change the setting at the top to bicycle or walking, rather than by car; then you can opt to move the route off the main roads even more.  The satellite image allows you to see where homes are and so I have set my routes to avoid roads with lots of houses.
    2) Travel at night as much as possible.
    3) I would think that for the first few days, such roads will be fairly safe (before people begin to really panic), whereas the highways might be clogged (if an EMP, possibly with people living in their cars while waiting to be saved.. or preying on other motorists).
    4) Once you have the basic plan, you can use the map to see where you could opt for using train tracks and walking/hiking paths.  I have a few places noted where I plan to use railroad bridges in order to avoid potential chokepoints of automobile bridges.
    5) When you know where you will be going, you can look along the way for hiking trails, bike trails, and snowmobile trails (snowmobile trails will also have bridges).
    6) State parks will have shelters you could stay in (lean to’s and the like), you could check their maps online as part of your preps.
    7) High tension power lines – they usually have an access road running at their base.  The lines are usually a bit away from homes, near the highway but usually separated by a stand of woods (because no one wants to look at power lines).

    Then when you have finally set out your google travel map, and noted where you may optionally jump off and use some alternate trail…. Print It Out and place it in the wheel well of your car.

    I look forward to seeing what other advice folks have.

  • #6903


    I would think that it would depend on what SHTF actually is . Do you have to worry about the people , or the government ? The government , you will have to be thinking about technology evasion , whereas with people , not so much , but rather bands of trogs , and thugs . Its been discussed before , but with the availability of personal drones , of all sizes , the scouting potential can not be ignored . At altitude , some are pretty darn quiet . 4WD clubs now sometimes use them , to scout out the best way to go . I’m not a fan of technology , but it exists , might as well use it as a tool when you can . Your area of the country will also determine how , and where you move . Being originally from Arizona , contrary to popular belief , DO NOT travel at night in the desert , yes you have to deal with the heat , however its also better to see where you are going in that place . Your flashlight can be seen for miles , why bother . I wouldn’t want to be moving through the deep dark Forrests of Maine at night either . Better there , than the desert tho .

  • #6904


    Depends on where you are, where you are going how late/early in shft WORL?  Skills you have and items aquired before such times.


    Can you fly fixed wing ? Rotary?  Jet?  Can you sail or navigate a water vessel and read  charts? Can you start a locomotive?  How do environmental conditions affect your area? Snow,sleet, ice storm, sand storm, hurricanes, earthquakes volcanoes?

    How many are travelling? Are you properly supplied? Are you carrying all your gear or going to all your gear? Age and health of travellers?


    Too many variables without any information.

    Two easiest ways would be have a bike with a two behind you can dump easy if in need.  Have older deisel with cow catcher bumper and plow through. Have enduro and put a very good muffler on it and pray not too much attention.


    Question is can YOU use any of them with skill?  All are zero good if you don’t have expirience. Bike with a load, next day you won’t be able to walk  if not in bike shape, you can be a marathon runner and bike will slay you as muscles are different and if not adjusted to hight you will have problems.  Plus if you need to dismount fast you will hurt yourself.


    Water, you can drown or atleast lose your gear if accident.
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    Walking is main way but do you have maps and alternates maped out for choke points? Radio to hear if infrastructure is no longer working? Field glasses to recon crossings or choke points?  Covering fire incase it goes wrong?





  • #6916

    OldMt Woman

    Thanks…I just put ‘maps’ on my revision of my EVAC list.  Right next to binoculars/spotting scope that were already there.  Up in these mts….even having lived here a long time, I could get turned around when you can’t see around the next mountain side.   Forest Service maps are handy….Forest Service Roads.  Hard to drive on but usually doable if you have 4-wheel and go SLOW.  And it hasn’t been raining a lot…have chains.  But they’re laid out like a pile of spaghetti.

    If a vehicle won’t do it….walking is going to take me a VERY long time.  I have another alternative IF I’m leaving from home.  A bike would only be good for me on down hill….and to carry STUFF the rest of the time.  Any wheeled device would help carry stuff….and be attractive to someone else who’d like that advantage.

    I’d be sure that any useful piece of goods…a bike included…would look old and decrepit.  Not saying it actually IS old and decrepit, mind you.  Nothing to see here, folks.  Just some ole lady with junk.  LOL ...maybe I should pack my food with a cat food label???  There is more than one way to sneak thru if true stealth isn’t going to work.

    Rather not try out my theory….cuz at some point, a certain element will target “weak-looking” folks.  ‘Course I’m not saying “weak” is what I’d actually be with a bit of this or that close to hand……  But it sure isn’t what I’d hope to have to pull off under such circumstances.

    OldMtWoman ….{aka: crazy cat woman}

  • #6917

    David Smith

    Well here’s a chance to talk about my bike fettish…   I was inspired by John Titor ( there’s a rabbit hole..) who went thru the 2nd American Civil war on another time line.. and advised to get a bike and spare parts.

    As  I am on a farm I need an off road bike like the mountain bike so I set out to learn about them.   I found that they are readily available second hand and at our local recycle center as people dump their old unused bikes or upgrade to the latest model.  The bike I ride at the moment cost me $12, the  price is still inked on it.  It has front shocks.. unlike my other bikes.. and very nice gear shifters.  Finger touch up, thumb down.  Tyres are old but hanging on..  I have about 10 bikes in varied shape, design and condition( all steel frame except one).  Many of them would have been state of the art expensive bikes 15 years ago.  All cost $10-20.

    A few things which may seem obvious ….   A bike is FAST compared to walking.  5x faster for the same effort.  It saves your knees.. mine don’t like waking.. forget running ( I am 70).  Downhill is FREE… zoom .. no effort.  Uphill is good exercise for your main leg muscles.  Free exercise.. no cost for a gym.  If it gets too steep, I get off and walk.  You could use a bike as a load carrier.. the Viet Cong used them in the war on simple trails.

    And now there is the possibility of electric mountain bikes.. due to the ever improving batteries.  I do not have one.. maybe someone here does?  But they could be ideal for travel in  a post oil fuel society.  Silent and relatively fast..  If/when I get old I may need one…:-).

  • #6921

    John Park

    Great idea with the Forest Service Roads! I hadn’t thought of that.

    I would assume there are probably state forest maps available as well.

  • #6923

    Crow Bar

    What assumptions are we making here?

    24-48hrs after an EMP?  A year?

    Are you walking from work to home?  What time of year?  If it is in the winter, are the plows running?

    I like the bicycle idea, have both a Mt. bike and a cyclecross bike, with extra tires.  But if it is winter, better off with a set of snowshoes or cross country skis.  I wrote a post on this.

    Concerning drones, the better ones I have seen require a cell connection, rather than a RF device.  If the power is out, cell service unavailable, how much of an issue will a drone be?


  • #6930


    Yes, too many variables, and great topic.

    What I noticed during my experience is one thing that is actually very natural and common sense, but I did not think about it (before I got in that situation)

    Thing is that in urban area during major SHTF roads, ways, routes that are still there but everything get new dimension because you simply use alternate ways, like shortcuts trough the abandoned buildings so you can get somewhere and similar.

    Intersections for example gets not usable because numerous reasons, or bridges and similar points, and you use alternate ways or “roads”.

    All this goes for urban areas, and in today plans it make sense to notice dangerous spots, so you can have some plans to avoid it.

    What looks today like straight and easy way from point A to point B when SHTF can be very complicated travelling that actually takes 5 times more energy.


    Traveling long distances on the other hand always is a game of how much information you are giving about yourself to somoene who might see you while you are gathering same informations.

    Your clothes and way how you “stand” can give informations to other about lot of things like are you stranger, armed or not, are you sleeping outside, hiding not hiding…

    Again too many variables, but consider small excersize of entering mall today in order to gather informations about shops inside, or particular items. Are you gonna go inside and obviously look for it, or you are wandering, or talking on phone and in same time looking for it, or you taking photo of it but on a way that you are like making “selfie”…

    It is always about giving or not giving information about yourself while you are performing task.


    Worst case scenario, and scenario that you need to be ready for is plan that you gonna walk all the way.

  • #6932

    Crow Bar

    I can speak to a degree concerning rural areas.

    Finding alternative routes to bypass a bottleneck like a bridge, well, that could take you for a very round about trip, into areas where you may not know the locals or even terrain as well.  Or, if you are on foot, you can try humping it cross country.  That is all well and good if you have a GPS that is working.  If not, through knowledge of the area is a must.

    Humping it cross country may, or may not, be as easy as the road ways.  It will likely take you longer, plan accordingly.   Water may be an issue.  I mentioned in another post about water filtration.  I was a big fan of those Life Straws, until one year we had a drought.  A lot of water sources that I would of used to get back home dried up.  Humping cross country requires more energy, in a drought, water becomes a real issue.   Same goes for winter.  I just got back from walking the dogs in snowshoes.  I was sweating, granted I have a fast pace and I was layer up pretty well.  Dont become a heat case.

    Security, too many variables to cover everything.   I stick with move reasonably fast, but quiet.  Be ready to duck, cover, or run at a moments notice.  In my experience unless you walk directly across someones lawn, walking a hundred yards or more from most houses (again, this is out in the sticks), most people are not going to know if you have even been there.  Kinda like seeing a deer, have to be at the right place at the right time looking in the right direction.

  • #6939


    Adding to Crow Bar’s advice, learning to stealth camp and practicing it can be very beneficial when in both familiar and unfamiliar territory.

    Here is a source to educate yourself with the practice.



  • #6946

    James Mitchner

    Seems like the prevalent assumption is that we must all be on a trek to some distant safe place.  It really depends on what the SHTF is, doesn’t it?  It may be that you only need to make a relatively safe route the the market, or the locally organized flea market and back. Maybe you have some items for trade but it may not be a great idea to arrive driving your Lexus.

    Traveling in some SHTF scenario  is dependent on what the SHTF is.

    Oh, and don’t bank on GPS being up and working!


  • #6968

    Crow Bar

    @James Mitchner,

    I am going with the worst case assumption.

    Even after a year of some kind of SHTF event, lacking fuel, some kind of human powered transportation will be the primary mode of transportation, walking, bicycling.

    Yes, there are horses.  How many people  know not only how to ride a horse, but properly care for one?

    Again, there is that winter thing for those in the Great White North.

    I imagine eventually there will be some kind of new normal emerge, with some kind of trade and barter system, or maybe even a central market place where people come to trade.  Again, if there is no fuel, walking will determine how far theses places are.

    Another assumption I am making, is this is a year or more after a SHTF event.  According to various sources, a mass die off from failure of the JIT system may result in a 80 or even 90% depopulation.  How many people are around to trade with might be questionable.

  • #7862

    OldMt Woman

    In my earlier post, my assumption was to Get Home…early in a scenario of life-becoming-crisis.  Having the misfortune of not being home when it hits fan.  Not a likely possibility cuz I’m almost always home…but DH is out more than me.  Same applies to him.

    For a DIFFERENT type of scenario, horses ARE one of my backups…..I am in the Wild West, after all.  BUT they are not without huge problems too.  Like getting enough water for them …as well as myself.  They CAN carry more weight…minus my weight, but not their own water/food quantities.  They are not necessarily QUIET when they need to be.  There are places one can slip thru easier on foot than with a big ole horse, certainly.  I usually ride bareback which is great warmth in winter….but less stable for a horse to carry more weight.  In winter…there is little here for a horse to forage.  The problems are many ….but so is an old woman in my condition trying to walk these mountain hillsides!!!

    A horse would be a last option for a Forced Bug Out from our rather remote home.  We’re talkin’ Plan H…when Plans A thru G have already been used up, have failed, or its just time to relocate.  As in: a migration outta this high altitude after the resources are gone.  By that time, a horse would unfortunately be extra valuable….even to eat!  But there would also be a LOT less folks still up here.

    I’m not expecting to be the only one around here who thinks of routes under the big power lines.  They are clear cuts thru dense forest.  I’ve used them already on horseback when searching for a friend’s lost horses.  Nearly the whole way was far from the homes….except one put me just about right in someone’s back yard.  EVEN before any Stuff Hits Fan…..appearing suddenly in someone’s ‘space’ up in this area IS A BAAAD IDEA.  [you ought to read some of the privacy signs posted in this region…some are meant to be a joke.]  I hustled out of that real fast.  So power line routing it’s not without problems but it is one way not to get lost.  AND….cuz those pathways under the power lines are cleared – there would be grass for the horses.  In season.  And since you can see them from a distance, a parallel route could be possible too….possibly safer deep in the trees but far more difficult for horse and rider.

    OldMtWoman …only talking potentials and possibilities in general.  Moving is NOT the best option …..unless it’s the only option.

    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by  OldMt Woman.

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