Tactical Walking Tips for Bugging out on Foot

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Last Updated on February 22, 2018

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Raider. Raider offers this article I believe as a companion piece to my recent article on SHTF Route Planning. In this piece he offers great advice and tips for security considerations if you are faced with the reality of bugging out on foot. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


  • Try on your Rucksack and Jacket, Jump up and down on the spot, if your kit rattles or bangs re-pack rucksack until its silent.
  • Ensure shiny items like watches, ear rings, earphones, belt buckles are covered up or taped over. A particular tool will help you to head up for any adventure. The daredevil hikers suggest wrapping your wrist with a military watch on that occasion. Be smart and super cautious for choosing military watches in 2018 instead of getting hoaxed.
  • Make sure your specs and shades are the dull, matte colored frames, not the shiny ones.
  • Do NOT take hand luggage; you must keep both hands free for climbing, roping, using tools etc
  • Keep your EDC essentials on your person not in your rucksack (Knife, Compass, Lighter, Flashlight, Multi Tool, Bandana, Hats, Gloves, Watch, and Shades etc) should you have to abandon your rucksack.
  • Daytime departure, take a look out the windows from well within the room moving to the right of the room to look left down the street, and vice versa. Do not stand in the window and silhouette yourself. Ensure as best possible departure will go unnoticed.
  • Night time departure, extinguish all lights and fires before looking out of the windows, move slowly at night as human eyes detect movement more than detail in the dark. Ensure as best possible departure will go unnoticed.
  • Turn off cell phones, pagers etc before leaving.
  • Use simple hand signals to relay information to other family members, raised arm means stop, raised arm and a crouching stance means stop and take cover, arm extended to left means move towards the left, arm extended to right means move to right. Keep the signals few in number and very simple.


  • Turn out lights if it is dark, open door or window PARTIALLY and LISTEN for threats.
  • Send out one person to scan the immediate area for concealed threats.
  • If the area is good to go the rest of group to follow, silently and at least 3 to 4 ft apart (6 to 8 feet if tactical situation demands more defensive stance)


  • Walk where possible in the shadows, look up for hazards in surrounding buildings, Look down to avoid items that may make noise like twigs, gravel or broken glass.
  • Pause frequently to listen, you generally will identify more threats by sound than vision, breaking glass, raised voices, gun shots, vehicle engines, running feet, barking dogs etc
  • Watch what nature does, if you see a flock of birds, or a rabbit, or deer for example suddenly take flight that tells you something has frightened it, and it may NOT have been your party.

    Solomark Night Vision Monocular

    Solomark Night Vision Monocular

  • Look left and right SLOWLY in a steady scanning motion, Human eyes detect motion more than shapes when its dark and you have more detector rods and cones in the sides of your eyes than you do at the back. Scanning side to side as you walk you will detect MOVEMENT before shape.
  • The last man in the group needs to keep stopping and quietly observing the rear to check if you are being followed.
  • Avoid using flashlights to navigate with, rely on your own night vision, Human eyes take 35 minutes to adapt to the dark but only seconds to lose night vision if a fool turns on a flashlight. Not to mention the risk of advertising your position to the whole area if you do use a flashlight.
  • Where possible avoid public places and spaces where cops, troops or thugs may gather, try and stay in the shadows.
  • Avoid districts where scavengers may good looking for food, loot etc
  • When passing through hilly neighborhoods never walk along hilltops or ridge lines, stay under the ridge line and don’t silhouette yourself.
  • If faced with an obstacle such as a hedgerow or wall try always to go round or under it, not over the top or through a gate because again you are just exposing your position.
  • In the short term most highway and rail bridges are really places to avoid, both official check points and predators WILL target them. Look for alternatives.



  • Light no cooking fires to be lit during the day unless you can guarantee you won’t create any smoke
  • When cooking at night, position the cooker in a hollow or hole so it does not give off light giving away your position, Beware of the odor of cooking food also giving away your position.
  • If in a group ONE PERSON COOKS, the others spread out and keep watch for approaching scavengers, Silence is golden as you will hear them approaching long before you see them.
  • You need to remember the cook will probably lose his night vision so if you have to bug out someone will need to help him until his eyes adjust.
  • Ideally eat in shifts, half eating half keeping watch, pack away camp cooker etc BEFORE eating in case you have to bug out in a hurry.
  • Take every scrap of rubbish with you or bury it, fill in your cooking hole / fire pit, leave no clue to your passing through.


We all need rest and the young and elderly need more rest than healthy adults, you all must sleep when possible. Human biorhythms run in two hour cycles, so to get the full benefit of sleep people need to be fully asleep in two hour sections. This really means in a stressed situation after a day of bugging out each member will need three hours in his sleeping bag, and hour to wind down / de-stress and two hours’ sleep. So whilst at least one person stands watch, the others should rest in three hour sections. All gear must remain packed in rucksacks and boots etc kept close to hand in case you have to make a swift and stealthy exit from your campsite.

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Ok, who still uses a pager?? Just asking, haha!!


Hospital medics, Doctors on call, lifeboatmen 🙂

Know Prepare Survive

Haha I definitely still used a pager when I worked at a hospital (not as a doctor). Apparently that’s still the best form of communication…


I do at work lol bloody loud they are as well


Use a mirror to visualize the street from the window even if not leaving Use a black permanent marker on shiny metal bits of your back pack. Don’t forget your belt buckle and boot islets. Sound advice but day one rail way lines and bridges will be deserted. Those types who hang there will be in suburbia looting. Cache resupply along multiple lines of egress to the bug out location. You can collect them later for more supplies. Have the bug out pre supplied by buried caches. The walk out should be as fast as possible and weight is a… Read more »


I’m told by a fellow Brit prepper that you can modify many digital cameras to act as a NV device be removing a certain filter in its mechanism?

R. Ann

Totally a thing – http://www.geektechnique.org/projectlab/254/how-to-turn-a-digital-camera-into-an-ir-camera.html Cameras have an IR filter (it’s actually NIR) so that they only pick up the colors human eyes can see. You remove that and use film-film to replace it. However, most of them are restricted in capability and to very close range (because it’s NIR and not thermal IR). I included this specific link because he also makes an IR flashlight. Plus, he’s nice enough to include his mistakes and the trials of creation rather than making it seem easy like Pinterest crafts and cooking. There’s a comment down there about turning a laser pointer… Read more »


Good points. I would also discuss rally points in the event the group becomes dispersed or has to scatter.


Agreed, in the full extended version of the article I have covered RV locations, Cache locations etc, Hazard plotting etc.


Cool. Not sure if Pat should up submission length for these articles but perhaps he should?

Pat Henry

Article submissions can be as long as the writer wants. I only try to enforce a minimum.


Raider, once again – a great article with sound advice.
For anyone interested, and with some time on their hands, you might want to look up a series of articles I wrote last year on TPJ titled “Covering Your Tracks.” Just enter the title in the search box. None of this material (Raider’s or mine) will make you an expert by simply reading it. It is something that requires practice.

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