Planning on bugging out with children? Think again

kids bugout

Today’s post is going to address an issue that seems to be overlooked quite often in the preparedness community. Every day I see someone discussing bugout plans, bugout bags and what types of gear is best suited for a bug out, but yet I see very little discussion about what to do about children in a bugout scenario.


I think a lot of preppers go into bugout planning with a clear vision in their mind of how they want their plan to be, rather than how to make a plan that is safe and effective for their particular situation. I also think that a lot of preppers jump the gun quite a bit when deciding when the appropriate time to bug out actually is. Today we’re going to go over some of the basic areas you need to address before even considering a bugout plan that involves children.


Stop listening to the crowd…it’s your family


Although some people out there will tell you that they have the “best” bugout plan, the reality is that no one can tell you what’s best for your family other than you. When making bugout plans, try to stay away from taking advice from other preppers who are not in the same kind of situation you are. It’s very easy to go overboard and into the realm of impractical when devising bug out plans, and bringing in people that have significantly different situations than you do will only complicate your plans further.


How capable are your children of completing your bugout plan?


If you’ve spent any amount of time on preparedness forums, websites or social media channels I’m sure you’ve seen more than one gung-ho prepper talking about trekking a 60 pound bugout bag hundreds of miles to some remote location where they plan to ride out the apocalypse.


There’s a harsh reality in the preparedness community that a lot of us think we’re much more capable of things than we actually will be when the time arises. Stress does strange things to humans; it tests us, it challenges our training and it strips away all the safeguards we use when preparing or practicing for things like strenuous activity, which a bug out on foot obviously is.


If you have children, you need to take a good, cold dose of reality and always be over-cautious. Yes, your child may be capable of walking with you in the woods all day long. They may even be able to carry a fairly sizable pack. However, there’s a huge difference between a normal situation and a disaster scenario.


On top of considering a child’s physical capabilities, it’s actually even more important to consider the child’s mental and emotional capabilities. Sure they can carry that big pack now, but what about when they’re scared out of their wits because their entire world has come crashing down around them? You’ve at least pictured this scenario in your mind and maybe even trained for it, but it’s very likely that your child is going to be in a sense of shock, and if you don’t think that’s going to affect their physical capabilities, let alone their ability to understand and take direction from you in such a stressful state, you’re kidding yourself.


Despite popular opinion…bugging out is actually one of the most dangerous things you can do in a SHTF scenario


Yes, in a true large-scale disaster there very well may come a time when it is necessary to bug out if the location you are in becomes compromised or unsafe. Having children throws a completely new monkey wrench into those plans because taking children with you on an on-foot bugout just took an already extremely dangerous plan and turned it into a whole new ball game.


When you’re by yourself or with other adults, you only have to worry about yourself and others who are at least capable (hopefully) of taking care of themselves. When you throw a child into the mix, you’re now automatically dividing your attention and more than likely paying much more attention to your child than yourself or what’s going on around you. Do you have more than one child? Now you’re dividing your attention into 3,4 or more areas. This is extremely dangerous when your lives could very well depend on how observant and focused you are.


This type of distraction could literally be a death sentence. Think about it, you’ve already made the decision that the security and familiarity of your home is less desirable than being on the road. (Hopefully en route to a secured bugout location) How dangerous would it have to be outside to make that call to leave? Even if there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and there’s a secured location waiting for you at the end of your trek, is it really a smart idea to subject your kids to that danger?


Again, I can’t answer these questions for you, nor can anyone else. Only you know what’s right for your family. However, I hope today’s post has made a few prepper parents out there stop and think about bugging out with kids in tow.


One day you may have to make that decision. When you do, take some extra time to really weigh the pros and cons, keep your child’s full capabilities in mind and make the best, most practical decision you can in the circumstances; because the consequences of making a poor one could be far more disastrous than you could imagine.

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1 comment

  1. David Fisher

    Great start to a thought provoking topic. What are the plans for a SHTF scenario where the kids are away at school, spending the night at a friends, etc? How would you extract the kids from school if there is a stay in place in effect, not to mention the chaos at the school in general, due to some event or catastrophy? Your thoughts?

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