There’s a lot of talk about fighting techniques, training and weapons across the prepping and survival community. We all have an expectation that we’ll need to fight to protect home and family, when things fall apart and the SHTF. But I’ve always thought the best way to win a fight is to avoid it all together. You see, every time you get into any sort of fight, you’re taking a chance with your life. I don’t care how good you are, there’s somebody better out there. You’re much better off not letting them find you, than ending up in a fight for your life.
Now, I realize that this doesn’t sound very macho. But then, I have to confess, it’s not supposed to sound very macho. If anything, it’s the opposite of macho; but it is survival. If you can’t set aside macho to survive, then there’s not much I or anyone else can do for you.
The truth of the matter is that no matter how good you are, there’s someone better. But it doesn’t even take someone better to take you out… all it takes is luck. The cards can go against you at any time and then you’ve had it. That’s a risk that you take any time you fight. In a way, it’s a lot like Russian Roulette, only somebody else is spinning the cylinder for you.
So, whether you’re bugging in or bugging out, you want to try to avoid a fight. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be ready for a fight, just that you should try to avoid it. If you’re stuck in a situation where you have to fight, then by all means do so, unleash all the violence and firepower you can, so that you can win and win quickly. But until that moment arrives, do everything you can to avoid a fight.
Making Yourself Invisible in the City
It’s harder to make yourself invisible in the city, because there are always people around to see you. But we can eliminate neighbors and people who are always around. They may be a risk, but they are a different sort of risk. The ones you really want to make yourself invisible to are the ones who are on the prowl, looking for what they can take.
Let Your Home Go to Pot
The first thing you need to do is to blend in with your neighborhood. If nobody can mow their lawn, because there’s no gasoline available, you don’t want to be the only one with nicely cut grass. That’s a dead giveaway that you’re better off than everyone else. It’s also one that is obvious enough to attract attention.
If there has been a natural disaster which has damaged homes, don’t be too quick to repair yours. Go ahead and do the emergency repairs; covering windows, covering a hole in the roof and things like that; but put off replacing windows and other things that will make your home look like new again. Wait until others in your neighborhood are doing so. That way, your home won’t be as likely to stand out.
Avoid Cooking Odors
When people are hungry, their noses get more sensitive, especially to food odors. So, you want to be careful how you prepare food, doing whatever you can to keep food odors away from them. Ideally, you would have no food odors to advertise your presence, but that’s not realistic. There will always be some.
Avoid Showing Light
If you have electrical power from your own solar panels or wind generator, that’s great. But it won’t be great if it acts as a lighthouse, telling people that you’ve got a safe berth for them. Make sure you have blackout curtains over your windows if you are using any more light than a candle indoors. Walk around outside in the dark, examining your home from all angles, to make sure.
Noise is another giveaway that somebody’s home. Train your children to keep quiet (a difficult task) and avoid loud noises. If you are actually using a television to watch movies or for video games, then make sure you’ve got enough headsets to go around. Those noises are unnatural and another indication that you are better off than anyone else.
Trash will say a lot about how you are living, especially if you have it and nobody else does. Food containers tell them you have food, one of the big signs people will be looking for. Take the time to separate your trash. Burn as much of it as you can in your heating or cooking fire; but don’t burn anything that is going to make smoke. Compost all food items, to fertilize your garden.
The trickiest thing to deal with is plastics. However, they can be melted down, reducing the space they take. For that matter, in the process of melting them, you can make a number of useful things out of your scrap plastic.
Making Yourself Invisible in the Wild
Invisibility in the back country is totally different than it is in the city. People can see much farther and there are different things that they will look for to show them that someone else is there.
Avoid Cigarettes – Especially at Night
Cigarettes, like cooking can be smelled from a considerable distance, especially by someone who is a former smoker. But what’s worse than that is the glow of the red coal. That can be seen from a couple hundred yards away on a dark night, pinpointing your position. There is nothing in nature that would look like that, so it is a dead giveaway that there are people in that position.
Avoid Smoke from Your Fire
Smoky fires point a finger right at your location. To avoid them, always use dry fuel for your fire. Avoid grass and bark, other than as tinder to start the fire. If possible, build the fire under a tree, with high enough branches to prevent them from catching fire. As the smoke passes upwards through the branches, the branches will dissipate it, making it less obvious.
If you’re not sure whether your fire is producing smoke or not, step away from it 50 or 100 feet and look up in the sky above your campsite. If you can see the smoke, you can be sure that others can as well.
Fires at Night Are Visible
We need fire to keep us warm, cook our food and at times to purify our water. But that fire you are using in your campsite can be seen from a long ways away. People who are looking to see who else is out there may be able to see you as much as five miles away, if your fire is not well concealed.
To keep your fire secret, try to keep it concealed by rocks, tree stumps, logs and even by digging a hole in the ground and building the fire in that hole. While the glow of the fire may be visible for 100 yards or so, the actual fire won’t be visible for miles, like it can be if built out in the open.
Shiny Materials Reflect Light
Military uniforms and equipment are devoid of shiny materials for a reason, that’s because those shiny materials reflect light. Even worse than that, as the light is reflected, it can catch the eye of anyone around. Our eyes are naturally attracted to light, so even if someone isn’t looking for you, they might see you.
If you have equipment that is shiny, then it is best to paint it or cover it with camouflage printed duct tape. Anything that will cover up or dull down that surface will do to help keep you from being seen.
Noise Travels a Long Way
One of the first things that most people notice out in the wilderness is the quiet. The busy street sounds that we’re all used to just aren’t out there. That makes the quiet almost deafening to those who aren’t used to it. It also makes almost any sound carry much farther than it will in the city.
This problem is worsened if you are sitting beside something that can reflect sound. Setting up camp in front of a cliff face, for example, will ensure that any sounds you make are reflected out to the front of you, making them much more obvious than they would otherwise be.
The Eye Catches Movement
In addition to being attracted to light, the human eye is attracted to movement. This is actually one of the easiest ways of finding people out in the wild. Just sit still, scanning the countryside before you. Any movement, whether it is a waterfall, a deer in the meadow or the trees blowing in the wind will catch your eye, attracting your attention. The same thing happens when people move.
It’s hard to find someone who is holding still. Snipers use this very effectively, waiting patiently, well camouflaged and without moving, until their target appears. Normally, the first indication the target has of any danger is a bullet entering their body.