Can you do some bug out location prep and pre-build your camp? I talked about this in my piece on caching at your bug out location but I like talking about bushcraft style camps. You’d be a lot more comfortable if you can build a vacation home and bug out to it. It’d be a lot easier to prep there and basically just move if things go south. That said, it’s not fun to talk about.
I think there’s something in a lot of people that makes us want to build a camp in the woods. When we were kids, play usually involved a lot of “bases” and tools, and they were fun to build. The grown up version of this is bushcraft and it’s a whole animal of its own. It just so happens to fold into bugging out perfectly.
Can You Build At All?
Building a bushcraft base is not really a low impact activity. Pre-building your location will need permission to use the land. If your plan involves a national forest, people will get mad at you for making a war camp in the middle of a hiking trail. But, if you own the property or you know the person that does, then you’ve got options. This is also a great place to stash supplies ahead of time.
Bug Out Location Prep: What To Build First
I’d love to tell you that your first priority is a cool canopy treehouse so you can live like a movie character. Unfortunately, the truth is a little less flashy.
The first thing you should consider building is a latrine. Digging a hole is no fun, it’s best to do this while you can still go get a burger and a nap after. To dig your latrine you’ll want to go for a deep, slender hole. Go as deep as you’re comfortable digging. If you have to bug out for any real length of time, you’ll need to dig another eventually. You can cover this hole with a piece of wood or a big flat rock.
Since you’re pre-building, you should even consider blocking it with a seat. If you’re worried about modesty, you can make a “stall” out of tarps, but you should take these down before you leave. Leaving the ropes to hang them is fine, but tarps might not be there when you get back.
Bug Out Location Prep: Building Your Shelter
At least I think it’s fun. Rule one of a shelter is that it needs a roof. It’s basically what makes a shelter a shelter. Even the most basic roof will block the sun, which is important. Sunburns and heat sickness are a couple of effects of prolonged sun that are normally minor. In a survival situation, anything that throws you off your game is more dangerous.
What’s even more dangerous, is getting wet. If you’re wet and it gets cold, you could be in serious trouble. This is why keeping your shelter as waterproof as possible is crucial. This can be done in a lot of ways. The easiest and most common is to pile at least a couple feet of leaves, mud, or other debris on top of your shelter. This should keep water from making it all the way down. Leaks can be patched with more mud.
Other Helpful Bushcraft
Now that you’ve finished your shelter, build another one. No, seriously. In a survival scenario, a second shelter is a great idea. Likely, if the first one was your first ever, the second one will be better.
If anything happens to one of them, you’ve got the spare. If you end up linking up with anybody else, the extra space will be useful. Speaking of the space, having a spare sheltered room will be useful for supplies.
You can also work on building a fire pit. Half digging, half construction, a fire pit will help contain embers and heat. Certain designs can even be used to direct heat towards your shelter. This can also obscure light from a distance. This could be useful to avoid attracting attention.
All things considered, there’s really nothing you can build that won’t help you out. Besides maybe giant rickety structures that will fall on you.
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