Preppers, new and old, have bug out plans that will take them away from their homes and into the wilderness, a secondary location or essentially fleeing for their lives. In most scenarios, the bugging out has to be done on foot. This is because there is a very strong possibility main roads and even back roads will be clogged with other people fleeing. There is also the chance you could be trying to escape an enemy and the roads are purposely blocked with soldiers carrying guns, ready to shoot anyone who tries to escape.
Bugging out on foot is usually the way to go. It gives you more flexibility on the paths you choose and it is much quieter and less obvious. You can use the cover of night, buildings and proper clothing. A single person or a small group of people are not going to be as obvious as a big truck barrelling down the road.
Unfortunately, not everyone can simply put on their pack and head out on a 5-mile journey, uphill and over rough terrain. We are talking about the youngest members of our families who have little legs and won't be able to walk a mile, let alone 5 miles. You may even have an infant in your family that cannot walk at all. This is going to be an extra challenge that you must accommodate for. You obviously are not going to leave them behind.
The following tips and strategies will help you plan your bug out with your little ones in tow.
Lighten Your LoadIt is pretty obvious you and the other adults in the family are going to be carrying the little one. If you have a couple little ones, you definitely need to be prepared for the extra weight. You will not be able to carry as much in your bug out bag. Assuming your child is 20 pounds or so, you will need to keep your bug out bag under 30 pounds or less depending on your physical strength. You will need to trade off carrying the heavy load in order to give your arms, back and legs a break. When you are packing your bug out bag, be extremely frugal about what you put inside. Only the very basics. If you can, spend a little extra money and buy a pack with an internal frame. This will make a heavy load feel lighter by distributing the weight a bit more. If you are traveling with a partner, you can have your partner carry the bug out bag while you carry the child. ALWAYS make sure you have a flashlight, a filtering straw, knife and a fire starting tool on your person. Wearing cargo pants is a great way to carry gear right on you without adding strain to your back and shoulders.
Child CarriersInvest in a child carrier. This will be a lifesaver. You won't be able to carry a backpack with a child carrier strapped on, but if you are wearing cargo pants, you can carry the basics in your pockets. This tool could be one of the most important investments you make. Buy one—you will need it. Sure, a toddler can walk on occasion, but if you are in a hurry, it is easiest and safest for the whole family if you just pack them out on your nimble feet. Practice hiking with the child in the carrier so you can get a good feel for it. You need to train your body to handle the extra weight.
Get Some WheelsIf you do have more than one child, or even if you only have the one child and you are on your own, a sturdy wagon would be a good idea. It isn't always going to be easy to haul it over steep terrain, but it does offer some advantages. You can carry the kid/s along with some additional supplies. Invest in a sturdy wagon with high sides or build sides onto your standard wagon. You don't want the child to bounce out. You can also change out the wheels to be a little sturdier and capable of traveling over rough terrain.
If you are going to go the wagon route, you will want to have a kit on hand to make any repairs. Things like; oil (you don't want a squeaky wheel giving you away), extra wheels and duct tape to fix any axles that may break. This option allows you to carry a bug out bag and carry additional supplies, like a gallon of water, tent or other large items that would not be possible to fit in your bug out bag. Your kids can lay down and take a nap on a nice soft blanket while you pull them to safety. You could even fashion a canopy over the wagon to provide them shelter from the weather.
Durable StrollerA stroller that you take to the mall or use to walk the nicely paved sidewalks in the neighborhood isn't going to do you a lot of good in a bug out situation. However, there are a couple of strollers that are designed to go off-road so to speak and will do very well over bumpy trails. The strollers generally have 3-wheels, which make them much easier to navigate on steep trails and rocky paths.
These strollers are an excellent way for you to carry more gear without really feeling the weight. You will still be able to carry a light pack as well. Invest in one of the good off-road strollers. Don't go cheap on something as important as fleeing for your life with your child. If you buy used, make sure the wheels are tight and it is going to hold up.
The ExtrasTraveling with small children requires some extra stuff that the average bug out bag wouldn't have. In today's world, you take a fully packed diaper bag to go to the mall. Imagine what you would need to take if you were leaving your house and heading out for an adventure that doesn't include Wal-Marts for an emergency run on supplies.
You will need to pack these things in a special bug out bag for the child.
- Diapers—think about going with cloth so you have an option if you run out of disposables
- Extra wipes—cloths that can be washed and reused are going to come in handy when the wipes run out
- Teething meds and teething toys
- Formula if needed—storing in bags will make it easier to pack and lighter than cans
- Spare bottles and nipples
- Extra pacifiers if your child still uses one
- Sippy cup—straws are lighter if your child can use one
- Diaper rash cream
- Extra clothing
- Appropriate food for the child's age—don't expect the child to eat a can of cold beans
- Snacks—biscuits, crackers or whatever will help keep your child calm and entertained
- A variety of small, light toys
- Don't forget the child's special security blanket or toy
- Sterilizing liquid or powder to clean bottles, pacifiers or toys that have dropped
If you are going to be bugging out with small children, your job is definitely going to be harder and trickier than the family with teens or the family with no kids at all. If you have to carry a child, you not only have to prepare to haul the extra weight, you also need to consider the energy you will be expending. You are going to need more fuel (food) and more water to keep going. You are also going to tire quicker.
You need to do what you can to get into shape today so you are ready to pack your children along. You are also going to need to do what you can to prepare the child for a journey on your back or in the wagon. They are likely going to be very scared and will want to cling to you if things are chaotic. You need to familiarize them with the child carrier, wagon or stroller. They need to feel comfortable.
If you are trying to bug out without being noticed, a screaming child is going to be an issue. A child that is terrified will likely be quite loud. You must be ready to handle the anxiousness that is sure to come with a bug out situation. Learn to school your facial expressions and adopt an upbeat, calm attitude that your child will hopefully mimic. They will take their cues from you.
Bugging out is risky business on your own, but when you factor in small children, the risk and need is even greater. Spend extra time planning your route and find areas you will be able to rest in relative safety. Walk the trail often so your children are familiar with it and will think that the bug out is nothing more than a typical weekend event.