Travel After the Apocalypse

Travel after the apocalypse will be very different than traveling now. Here are some tips that can make it safer!

Travel After the Apocalypse (aka: The Long Bug Out)

Some of us live pretty far from our families. We move away to take jobs or to go to school. When it’s time to visit home we have to drive for hours hours, take a train, ride the bus or fly. After the SHTF will we stay where we are or will we try to get home?

Once the initial disaster passes, many will strike out and head for home, where they have people they trust and care about.

This journey will probably be very similar to cross country backpacking, but with no stores, restaurants, gas stations or convenient electical outlets along the way and rife with predatory humans looking to take what you have…. or worse.

Before we get into the list of provisions that we’ll need, let me offer a warning.

Do NOT travel like this alone, unless you are a special forces ninja, trained to survive alone.

A group of at least 3 people will be a good starting point, and can probably travel more quietly than a large group.

  • 1 person rests/sleeps
  • 1 person prepares food and gathers water for themselves and the other 2
  • 1 person is on guard duty. Weapon ready (or close to ready) in a good spot to watch for approach of others.

Rotate duties when not on the move, so everyone has a chance to perform all duties.


What supplies will be needed for this travel? You’ll need to carry almost everything you need to survive, like a cross country bug out bag! Be prepared to improvise and make things along your route to help you.

Ok this is pretty much a bug out bag, but not just for 72 hours, but for an indefinite trip.

  • Weapon – A rifle, shotgun or pistol. Yes, guns, because there will be bad, bad people out there with guns too.
  • Backpack – Something comfortable, and that can hold what you need. Make sure it’s tough, it’d really stink to have it rip apart and all your stuff falls out. You’d look really dumb carrying your gear in a plastic shopping bag that you found along the way.
  • Survival Manual – a copy of the SAS Survival Guide or the Army Survival Manual (FM21-76) , something that covers essential topics
  • Hunting tools
    • Slingshot, BB pistol, you could even use your main weapon if in a pinch.Why not a Bow and Arrows? We’re already carrying a defensive weapon, so it’s not realistic.
    • Snares – light small and easy to fashion
    • Fishing line, hooks and sinkers – set some trot lines
  • Rain Poncho – The military rain poncho is perfect for travel. You can use it for rain gear and shelter.
  • Sleeping Bag – It’s important to have a gore tex bivy sack cover for your sleeping bag. A full military sleep system will allow you to tailor your comfort and survive in temperatures down to -30°F. Yes it’s heavy, but it’s shelter and sleeping bag in 1 package, and if you have the military rain poncho hung over it, it could be very efficient.
  • Fire Starting gear – matches, flint, cigarette lighters, Fresnel Lens. Have multiples and backups
  • Cooking Gear – You need a way to cook food, so a mess kit designed for camping, for each member of your party. A camping skillet will make cooking for your group much easier!
  • Water containerStainless steel water bottle, canteen or Nalgene bottle, ensure that you have an item from the Cook set that you can boil water in.
  • Navigation
    • Maps and Map covers – You’ll never have all the topographical maps you’ll need. Purchase a Delorme Atlas and Gazetteer for any states you must traverse, or at least grab that Road Atlas out of your car or truck. Do I recommend walking on the roads? No, not really. If you are careful you probably can walking on the roads now and then, but you can use your compass and cut through the wilderness from highway to highway.
    • Compass
  • Knife
    • Fixed blade knife (something rugged and that will last)
    • pocket knife (a backup and for small cutting tasks)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Hygiene kit – brush your teeth and clean up on your trip, you don’t want to be all gross when you finally get home.
  • Eye Protection – Goggles, sunglasses
  • Food a bag of rice or beans, maybe some dehydrated soup fixins to jazz up whatever wild game you hunted!
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant
  • Hat and Bandana or Shemagh
  • Extra Clothes (wool or synthetics) especially socks! Be able to layer for warmth
  • Headlamp and Flashlight – Yes both.
  • Hatchet and/or camp saw
  • Survival Blanket, in case you get wet and have to dry your clothes over the fire.
  • Duct Tape – Have this and some zip ties, if you can.
  • Momentos,
    • a book (Bible)
    • Pictures or Something to provide distraction and remind you of the reason you are making this long, arduous trip.

After the SHTF many of us will strike out and head for home. Travel After the Apocalypse will be dark, unfamiliar and darn scary, but remember, the fur trappers, mountain men and pioneers all faced similar journeys, hundreds of years ago. You can do it, if you are smart and cautious.


  1. Who cares if you look dumb having to carry gear in a found shopping bag? Do whatever it takes to keep moving to safety. If you’re worried about your appearance while bugging out then you have a bigger problem than a ripped backpack…

  2. Just a few quick things. In the event of an Apocalypse/collapse of society, I would not recommend walking around in full tactical gear with a tactical gear. For one, you will be a target. Either remnants of the government or unfriendly people will target you for what you have. I would recommend carrying something small and more concealable such as a MP5 clone, an AR pistol or AK pistol, even a Kel-tec folding carbine would be sufficient. If you however are at your bug out location, then by all means use whatever big guns you may have. Also travel on foot through the wilderness, I would not recommend that someone who has gone “camping” a few times at a State Park, that they try and navigate through the wilderness. It would in essence be safer than trying to travel through a city/urban area.

  3. – Dependable, durable gun (Glock or similar) with extra ammo
    – High quality fixed-blade knife (Buck 124 or similar)
    – High quality water filter
    – 10 – 20 oz of silver
    – Camo tarp or large poncho
    – High quality shoes/boots with high quality socks
    – Fire-making kit
    – Dependable light with backup
    – High quality binoculars
    – First Aid kit including antibiotic ointment, bandages

    Long Term Get Home?

    – Sleeping system (bag, foam pad at least)
    – Hygiene kit
    – Stainless Mess kit
    – Fishing kit
    – Plenty of extra batteries for light
    – Solar charger for phone
    – Radio for listening to news
    – Consider an AR15 or shotgun in addition to handgun. Yes it’s heavy but in a country of panicked people, necessary

  4. All the gear and supplies in the world wont help you at all, unless your mind and body are prepared.

    Too many authors fail to distinguish the difference between a state of emergency, and an actual shtf scenario. Post-Katrina probably being the most common example.

    An Emergency is temporary by nature. A State of emergency continues over a longer time-line. SHTF means that the conditions of the emergency have not been improved, nor is there a foreseeable time at which they will.

    This list is a good enough example of many of the supplies which could be life-saving in an emergency. Some of them would also continue to serve well during an extended emergency.

    Survival, post-shtf…let alone traveling, will be a VERY different prospect. Practicing physical fitness, situational awareness, and resourcefulness will carry you much further than a porch full of amazon products.


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