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Recently we talked about get-home bags, commonly referred to as GHB. In the past, we’ve discussed everyday carry bags (EDC) and touched on bug-out bags (BOB). These, along with food storage and supplies, are all popular prepping topics. A topic not as often discussed is having preparedness backup plans.
When I was a young child, my grandpa would often talk about a guy named Murphy. I was probably six or seven before I realized Murphy only showed up when things went wrong. I asked him about this, and he explained Murphy’s Law, which likely turned me into a pessimist at a young age!
Not Only Fiction
As a fiction writer, especially a writer of Cozy Apocalyptic Fiction, Murphy often comes into play in my stories. Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.
In our real-life preparedness efforts, Murphy plays a part. Take a BOB, for instance. Ideally, the BOB is perfectly packed with everything needed to get from your home to your chosen bug-out location—which is, of course, no farther than a couple hours’ drive or three days by foot.
Your BOB has everything you’ll need for those three days, not only to survive but to thrive. It will be the ideal weight so you can easily carry it, should you find yourself on foot. You’ll effortlessly arrive at your bug-out location—your safe place—calm, cool, and collected.
Sounds good, right? Not to Murphy. Murphy is there to make sure anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Fiction is a great place to explore these scenarios and create secondary plans.
In my book Shields and Ramparts, sisters Sylvia and Sabrina Eriksen are driving from their Arizona home to their mom and stepdad’s place in Wyoming. Their mom, a longtime prepper, taught them a few things.
Sylvia paid little attention, but Sabrina absorbed it like a sponge. She packed their car to the gills, even including the possibility of being on foot. When that happens, she chooses to discard the common backpack with only three days worth of supplies, choosing instead to load each of them down with a backpack, messenger bag, and even a rolling bag for one and cart for the other.
The reason? They are weeks away from mom’s house and will be walking through what is essentially a food desert. Even with their provisions, they struggle to keep up their calories during the intense walk.
In the same book, we meet Lindsey and Logan Maverick, traveling by motorcycle from California to the same Wyoming town. They pack well for the few days trip, but Murphy has other ideas. When those few days stretch to much longer, they need to make decisions about how they will get the supplies needed.
In Havoc Peaks, Ben, Clarice, their son, and Ben’s dad set out from Oregon to their friend Mollie’s Wyoming home. They made some great plans, including leaving in a mad-max-inspired semitruck and having not just one source of backup transportation but two.
What could go wrong? DON’T ASK! Just about everything you can think of. One of my Advanced Readers (part of my new release team who receives an early copy of the book before it is available for sale) emailed me saying, after reading Ben and Clarice’s story, her BOB needed some rethinking.
Have a Plan for Your Plan
Plans are important. Backup plans may be even more important. What if something happens and your three-day walk to your bug-out location (or home while carrying your GHB) ends up being more because of needing to detour? Or what if you twist your ankle and can’t make your planned 30 miles per day?
And for the record, 30 miles a day is a terrible plan for most of us. Thru-hikers may put in those kinds of days when hiking a trail for fun, but unless you are an extreme athlete who has trained to hike while wearing your pack on a regular basis, 30 miles is not going to happen. And if you have children, no way. Depending on their age, even half that much will be a challenge.
For pleasure hikes, one recommendation is a half-mile per day for each year of age, so a five-year-old would be 2 1/2 miles, and a ten-year-old would be five miles.
And that well packed BOB, what if you lose it? Do you have a backup plan in place in case someone gets the drop on you and takes your BOB?
In the case of going to a bug-out location, consider a cache. Those in preparedness circles tend to think of their supplies at home and/or in their bug-out location as their cache, and those supplies most certainly are a cache.
But maybe you need an additional cache. Most certainly, if you plan to bug out, at least one cache en route to your location is a great idea. This can be done by renting a storage unit at the halfway point of your journey or leaving things with a friend.
You could also consider burying supplies in a location where they are unlikely to be found—just make sure you can find your hidden location! Keep in mind, your spouse or partner should have this knowledge also in case you’re unable to continue the journey.
Talk it Through
My husband and I often discuss different scenarios regarding preparedness issues. My mind tends to go on overload and I often consider Murphy’s Law, where my husband is more realistic and reminds me that some of the things I think of are best reserved for my fiction books.
Even so, discussing these things helps us develop our back up plans. Back up plans aren’t just for BOBs and bug-out locations, they’re for hunkering down, for security, and more. Having an idea of what you will do in different situations can be very helpful. I’m not saying expect the worst will happen. It’s better to expect the best while preparing for the worst.
A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences. Proverbs 22:3