How To Create a SHTF Escape Plan

SHTF Escape Plan

One Escape Plan Is Not Good Enough

Human beings are busy creatures. We wake up in our homes, go to work during the day, go out and socialize when our shifts end, and spend time back at home with family in the evening. When Sh*t Hits The Fan (SHTF), you should know your plan for escape from any one of the above mentioned locations. Escape plans require creativity, preparation, logistical analysis, and pragmatism. While some of your escape plans may look great on paper, you should be able to execute them when necessary. Let’s walk through some things to consider when creating your SHTF escape plan.

Situational Awareness

Before you can hop in your car and drive down the highway, you need to first consider your situation. Where are you? Who are you with? Where are the exits located? What do you do after making your exit? Escaping your situation alone is different than escaping with others, so you should be able to answer the following questions:

  1. Will I be on my own when escaping my immediate location?
  2. After escaping my immediate location, will I meet with others before making it to safety?
    • If so, consider training others to make it to the secure location without your assistance.
  3. Do I need to retrieve anything before making it to safety?

Once removed from your immediate location, you should identify your primary route to safety. Your significant others should follow this primary route as well. You don’t want to delay an escape by waiting for others to meet you outside of the secure location. It’s important that you have the necessary supplies to sustain you during your escape. I recommend strategically placed bug-out bags to better ensure your successful escape.

Logistical Analysis

Escape plans come in many forms. Folks on the island of Manhattan would need to consider an escape plan by water or air, while those in land-locked states need to escape by land. No escape plan is the same, so you should prepare the logistics of your escape in advance. I suggest first identifying your secure location and then working backwards. Do you have a bunker you want to get to? Where is it? How do I get there? What are my contingency plans? Again, exiting your immediate location is the first step. From there, you’ll need to get to your primary escape route. Let’s use an example: my secure location is a bunker isolated in a forest fifty miles from my home. I’ve identified the exits from my immediate location. I know my primary escape route is by back roads in my vehicle. I have a bug-out bag in my home and in my locker at my place of employment. Therefore, my steps should be as follows:

  1. Exit immediate location
  2. Retrieve bug-out bag
  3. Follow escape route
    • You’ll need to consider whether conditions allow for your primary route. You should have a contingency plan just in case.
  4. Arrive at secure location

Be Pragmatic

Escapes should be as quick as conditions allow for. You should balance heroism with survival chances. Not everyone can be saved, so you should prioritize the safety and security of you and your loved ones. You should only grab the essentials for your route to safety, but it’s important to have survival needs at your secure location. For a more in-depth review, I suggest you read the Survival Evasion Resistance Escape (SERE) Operations Manual.

If you have any questions, comments, or additional tips, don’t hesitate to contact me. You can also head to the Bunker Basics Store to check out some survival gear.

SHTF Escape Plan SAS Survival Handbook, Third Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Anywhere


What to Pack in Your Bug-Out Bag

pack in your bug-out bag

Grab Your Bug-Out Bag and Go

Anyone who expects to survive The Event needs a bug-out bag. A bug-out bag contains what you need to survive the first three days after evacuating the comfort of your home when SHTF. You should prepare your bug-out bag ahead of time, so that you have survival essentials while you get to your bunker or other secure location. What you pack in your bug-out bag could make the difference between life and death, so read below to see what every survivalist should have in his bug-out bag.


The Event will distinguish the prepared from the vulnerable. All preppers should make shelter their top priority. You should have a lightweight sleeping bag, or if you prefer to sleep off the ground, a hammock. Tarps should also be packed because they afford you protection from rain, sun, or more intense elements.


A lightweight tarp poncho will serve you well during your evacuation. Sunglasses, work gloves, boots, and sunscreen are also must-haves. Seasonal and regional environmental considerations should be made, since you don’t want to pack long underwear during a Dallas, TX summer.


Every bug-out bag needs a good heavy duty field knife. Some folks suggest machetes, or folding saws, though that may be overkill for the ideal three day bug-out bag. You should pack a compass for navigation purposes, duct tape, and a stainless steel multi-tool. Lastly, you’ll need a flashlight or lantern for travel during the night.


Protein bars can sustain you during your three days, but you may want to mix up your diet a bit. Bring a can opener, so you can bring canned tuna and other canned foods with you. You’ll want to pack water bottles and/or camelbacks in your bug-out bag as well. Bring a spork, so you’re not forced to eat your canned foods with your hand.

First Aid

If you survive the event, then you’re among the lucky ones. Don’t push your luck by neglecting to pack a first aid kit in your bug-out bag. Your kit should include any prescription medicine, as well as bug spray.


Pack a solar crank radio, batteries, and a solar USB port to charge your devices. Depending on the type of Event you’re escaping, you may or may not be able to use your standard phone. It’s best to pack one, though some more costly bug-out bags include satellite phones. Whistles and signalling flares should not be forgotten.


We can’t be sure who will survive The Event, so you should consider defense when packing your bug-out bag. I suggest a handgun, ammunition, and pepper spray. Larger firearms are impractical for three days on the road, but I don’t discourage your packing anything that makes you feel more secure. Hunting rifles are better kept in your bunker or other secure location.

Balance Preparation with Practicality

You’ll note that I haven’t included every item you think should be packed in a bug-out bag. While binoculars and fishing gear may be helpful, we should be focused on traveling to our long term shelter. Your bunker is meant to store what you need to hunt game when it’s safe to do so.

Contact me with any must-have items that should be included in a bug-out bag. You can also stock up on gear by heading to the Bunker Basics Store.

pack in your bug-out bag