The forward really explains what the book is about and I thank Jim for his efforts at analyzing the book.
Forward to Bug-Out – Reality Vs. Hype
By Jim Cobb
Of all the topics that fall under the survival or prepper umbrella, bugging out surely tops the list for the most popular. A quick Google search for the term “bug out bag” generates over 1,400,000 hits. Just about any survival manual on the shelves today, and there are a ton of them, has within at least one list for what should be packed into a bug out bag. I think part of the popularity of bugging out is that it appeals to the sense of adventure within many of us. We liken bugging out to Huck Finn floating down the mighty Mississippi, living by his wits. What could possibly be more exciting than heading off into the sunset, armed with our mighty bug out bags, and ready to take on any challenge that awaits!
If you spend much time in some of the various online survival related forums, you’ll see thread after thread, discussion after discussion, about what should or should not be in a bug out bag. Bug out planning gets some space as well, with folks talking about whether carrying maps is a good idea or not and what constitutes a great bug out location.
Yet, for all the attention bugging out gets online and in print, there is one aspect that has rarely been discussed, at least in any great detail – WHY or WHEN you should bug out versus staying put. To my way of thinking, that’s just as important, if not more so, than what you carry in your bug out bag. All the whiz bang bug out gadgets in the world won’t do you much good if you don’t know where the heck you’re going or why.
John McCann and I have had several conversations over the last few months about bugging out, what it means and what the realities are as opposed to the fantasy land many keyboard warriors seem to live in. Not so much about what we have in our own kits but the WHYs of bugging out. What I’ve always found interesting in these discussions is that John is one of the few people I know personally who would be capable of pulling off some sort of “live off the land” scenario, yet he will be one of the first to tell you that is a plan doomed to failure. I mean, here’s a guy who has made a career out of teaching people how to survive, who is a known and respected authority on the subject. He’s been there and done that. He’ll do to ride the river with, as they used to say. If he tells you bugging out is a last resort in many scenarios, that carries a lot of weight.
Above all else, what has always impressed me about John is the fact that he says what he means and means what he says. He doesn’t sugarcoat things or engage in any sort of politically correct nonsense. And that is precisely why the book you’re about to read is both important and refreshing.
The reality of bugging out is this – it will be uncomfortable, nerve wracking, and extremely stressful. Real life seldom mimics what you see in the movies. Of course, bugging in probably won’t be a fun picnic, either, but at least you’ll have at your disposal your stocked pantry and such.
The concept of bugging out, of heading for the hills in the wake of disaster, has been romanticized over the years to an almost laughable degree. Don’t get me wrong, bugging out is indeed a viable option in some cases, but by no means all. But, if you gather most of your survival planning information from online forums, which often contain as much fiction, unintentional though it may be, as the Romance section of a bookstore, you likely as not are setting you and your family up for massive failure.
John’s approach to survival instruction mirrors my own, or I should say my approach mirrors his. Skills trump stuff, each and every time. Practice makes perfect, or at least serves to limit mistakes when drills turn real. Planning ahead will make life easier, but recognize that all plans are subject to change without notice and being able to think outside the box may be one of your most critical survival skills. All of those points are made quite clear in this book.
In addition to discussing the WHYs of bugging out, John talks about assembling various bags, such as a bug out bag and how it differs from a get home bag or evacuation kit. As with any area of knowledge that has its own jargon, over the last few years the terms bug out bag, get home bag, INCH (I’m Never Coming Home) bag, and more have all sort of lumped together and become interchangeable. John is quick to point out the differences between these kits. These are important distinctions because if you are assembling a kit, you need to know the intended purpose of it.
The decision of whether to stay or go should not be made lightly and there are many considerations to bear in mind. To that end, John has included a few fictional scenarios in Part III of this book. These are used to illustrate how bugging out as a result of different disasters could play out in the real world. I would caution you to pay very close attention to what happens to Mr. Brown in the final scenario. His is a fate I can easily see playing out time and again should there come a major catastrophe.
Over the years, the hype and myth surrounding the bugging out concept has overridden common sense and logic. In this book, John goes to great lengths to illustrate the reality. As I said earlier, this is a refreshing look at a commonly discussed topic. Odds are you’re either going to really enjoy the book and learn a few things, or the book will anger you because it goes against your current belief system. In fact, I predict you’ll either love it or hate it.
If you fall into the latter category, I would suggest you think long and hard about why you feel that way. Do you truly disagree with the points raised within the book or is it more a matter of the natural human inclination to fear that which goes against what you’ve been taught previously?
The fact of the matter is this – John knows what the hell he’s talking about. It really is that simple. Disregard his advice at your own peril.
Owner of Disaster Prep Consultants
Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide
Prepper’s Home Defense
I again thank Jim Cobb for taking the time to read the book and explaining what it is about! The Kindle version with full color photos will be available in a couple of days, and the print version with black & white photos in about a two weeks.
John D. McCann