I’m writing this in 2020, and I have to tell you, SHTF situations aren’t exactly far from anyone’s minds right now.
Paper shortages, food shortages, material shortages – the world is rapidly depleting resources out of a mass panic.
You know why?
Because nobody has a SHTF plan in place. Nobody is ready for it. You and I think differently, though, and the last thing we want is to be caught with our pants down when disaster strikes.
It ranges from hurricanes and floods to EMPs and pandemic-related chaos. There are so many different things that can go wrong, but they all have common themes: you need food, water, shelter, and medical supplies to get through them. No matter what they are.
We’re going to outline a proper SHTF plan for just about any situation you can think of, and help you prepare. Don’t know where to start with your planning?
Start right here, right now.
What is a SHTF Situation?
It stands for “Shit Hits The Fan”, and as you can imagine, that’s a pretty self-explanatory term. A SHTF situation is when everything in your normal life can crumble away in an instance. Many of these situations include but are not limited to:
- EMP Attack
- Homeland Invasion
- Power Grid Attack/Failure
- Hostile Takeover
- Government Takeover
- Military Occupation
- Cat 4 or 5 Hurricane
- Major Flooding
- Destructive Tornadoes
- Ice Storms
- Nuclear War
- Cyber Attacks
- Terrorist Threats
- AI Disaster
- Super Volcano Eruptions
- Epidemic/Pandemic (Thank You, 2020!)
The list goes on and on. We’re going to delve into a few of these in-depth to really show the scope of how things can happen and what we should be prepared for.
The Bare Minimum of Preparedness Goes a Long Way
We can generally split up bug out bags, a prepper’s number one line of defense, as being classified in three sizes. You have a light duty bag, a medium duty, and a heavy bag that you could take with you from now until the end of time.
Lighter bags are excellent to store in a car or on the back of a motorcycle so that it’s always with you no matter where you go. That’s important to have.
Medium duty bags are good if you have to flee your home due to a wildfire, hurricane, or any other natural disaster. You can stay light on your feet ahead of the disaster while still having a good amount of provisions.
Having a Stage Plan Will Make Execution Easier
A stage plan refers to having multiple stages of one individual plan ready to execute. It’s impossible execute an entire plan in a single, fluid motion, and when you’re talking about SHTF situations where ten seconds could be a life-or-death scenario, time really is of the essence.
Stage plans work by having an actual plan for each individual item in your kit. It’s not just enough to stockpile supplies; you have to know how to use them. An example of a proper stage plan would look like this:
1. Assemble Party: Everyone who’s leaving or hunkering down needs to be present before anything can continue.
2. Delegate Tasks: If you have to load bug-out bags into the car, make an assembly line and get it done faster.
3. Fulfill Tasks: After quickly delegating, perform a task yourself to help move things along. Check in with other party members upon completing their tasks.
4. Verify: Do you have everything? Did you lock down your home in the opes of coming back one day? Do you have everything you need for survival ready-to-go?
5. Evacuate: Choose an evacuation route and plan to stick with it. Monitor weather and/or local news to ensure your planned course isn’t occupied or obstructed.
This is a very basic way of looking at it. Many stage plans have quick, easy-to-manage parts that can be carried out in a short amount of time to maximize the distance between you and the SHTF situation.
8 Gear You Should Have Ready for a SHTF Event
If you’re about to bug out, you have to do it the right way. This is a quick list of gear that you should never bug out without.
1. Emergency Water Filter
Come on, you had to know that this was going to be the first thing. You can’t survive for very long without water, but you can carry on for longer periods of time without food. If you don’t have water, you can’t even make it to starvation. Start here.
Depending on what your bug out plan entails, you can either get a personal water filter, or you can go for a gravity-fed system that filters through multiple liters or multiple gallons at the same time.
The latter are designed for larger parties and if you plan on camping near a water source after bugging out.
2. Self-Defense Weapon
We don’t want to ever have to use them, but if the SHTF, it could be for a number of reasons.
Depending on what the circumstances are that cause you to bug out, you might need something simple like a utility knife or a kukri, or you might have to carry firearms. It all depends on the circumstances, but I can tell you one thing.
The longer the world is in chaos, the more chaotic individual people will become.
If you’re in the middle of nowhere and it’s five months after the country fell in the crapper, then you’re going to encounter other people that aren’t hunkering down, and they could be dangerous. Be prepared, and hope not to use it.
3. Fire Starter
Starting a fire is essential, but not all of us are nearly as skilled as others. If you have a hard time starting a fire with two sticks and some dry brush, you’re not alone.
Bringing something to start a fire is important, especially if you end up travelling through a wet forest during the rainy season and there isn’t much to start a fire with.
4. Utility Tool or Knife
We’ve covered self-defense, and while you can use a quality knife for self-defense, it’s designed to be useful in various situations.
You can use the pommel on the bottom of a knife to break a window or hammer down some tent stakes. You can shave sticks to make a DIY bow and arrow. There are endless uses, and your creativity is the only limit.
5. First-Aid Supplies
Cuts are going to happen, and hopefully that’s all you have to face out there. A slip with a knife or a light scratch on your arm from gathering tinder would be the ideal, low-risk injuries you would encounter while bugging out.
However, you should also be prepared for everything else you might encounter, such as broken bones or serious gashes.
6. Botany Guide
Not sure what local plants you can eat or use for medicinal purposes?
Get a local botany guide that explains indigenous plants and describes what to avoid. Most of us do not know someone who’s an expert in plants. Most of us don’t know enough about them ourselves. This is critical, and you can tuck it away for safe keeping in your bag.
A deck of cards, your favorite battered paperback; whatever it is, you need something to do other than count down the minutes until the next day, or check the survival radio for the twentieth time in the same night.
People seriously undervalue having some form of entertainment while bugging out, even if it’s repetitive. Our mental fortitude and constitution can withstand a lot, but when it starts to wane, it’s a slippery slope to the bottom.
These things that you bring along for entertainment can also help ground you and return some sense of normalcy. If possible, have a 5V personal solar panel and a phone with audiobooks stored on it (requires high memory) to have a revolving door of entertainment.
8. Cords and/or Rope
Paracord is the survivalist’s best friend. You can use paracord for just about anything, and it can be stored in a bracelet, or in a small tube in your backpack.
You’ll Be Prepared
It’s not fun to picture these scenarios, which is why the majority of people keep it out of their heads and then panic when disaster strikes. You want to be ready, and dammit you’re going to be ready.
Apart from this outline, I’ve gone over multiple scenarios and created guides to equip you with the best gear for any situation. Check them out, arm yourself with knowledge, and prepare for everything.