For those that have assembled a BugOutBag, maintain and occasionally use it, it’s an easy observation to make. Hiking and the “Great BugOut” are alike.
But does this similarity go further to Preparedness and everyday living?
Dealing with Gear first.
There IS a similarity in Gear between the two. Sleeping bag, rainwear, tarp & tents, water filters, easy to cook and calories intense food, and more. And to no one’s surprise. Common functions and needs make for the same solutions and equipment chosen.
In our case weight is the great equalizer. When you have to lug a backpackful for days you will eventually end up at the lightest and most efficient items regardless of market.
It is no wonder that preppers and survivalists start with military gear at first then proceed to the hiking range. Military gear is for hard use first then weight. And weight will beat macho every time.
The more advanced prepper gear kits will combine elements from both worlds. But to do so one has to go thru the process of selecting for function, efficiency, reliability and cost.
But before Gear come Skills.
For once more the needs to function in similar environments and conditions dictate the commonality of means and the skills to use them.
Proper knowledge of Navigation, Fire Building, Shelter Building, First Aid and Camp Cooking are required in both cases.
The same goes for adapting to the environment. While camouflage for the BugOut and bright colors for the hiker come to mind and may be your objections, this is not the real issue.
The issue is the ability to cope with extreme weather, unfriendly locations and also find ways to comfort, which in turn saves you energy and stamina. Much the same, exploiting resources (like finding water) saves you far more effort and pain than lugging them all the way to your objective.
Adaptability is the keyword here, and the point we want to make is that any hiker is closer to the preparedness basics (and survivalism if you want) than any other man.
And even though all the points made above relate to the Survivalism infatuation the “Great BugOut”, hiking goes further into the preparedness core.
It Nurtures Self-Reliancy and Mindset.
Self-Reliancy because a hiker has to do in his own for a number of days and what more, he has to make the right choices balancing effort and resources to last.
Camp cooking is not only a proven way to cook during an electrical blackout. It is also the implementation of diet principles to sustain you for days of increased physical activity. By being an advanced hiker you have to get the knowledge of food basics like preservation, nutrition and preparation, even getting creative in the latter. And many of them prepare and pack their own dehydrated food.
Behind every hiker’s first aid skills and kit lies the realization that you have to make with those scant resources and not any medevac for some time, and drives in the sense for safety and accident avoidance (caution) when you are in the remote setting.
And lastly –related to the gear and weight issue- hiking cultivates the sense of balance of risk, effort, and energy and stamina preservation.
One could go further into saying that hiking forces and trains you to making the right choices when operating far from the systems of everyday life, which is the same indeed about preparedness.
And this brings us to Mindset. Hiking by default is about finding your Limits and sourcing the Motivation to proceed towards your Goal while Fighting the remote environment Without any of the modern every day conveniences. And gaining Joy and Confidence in the mean time. Sounds familiar?
The Differences of the two.
This article would be incomplete without a short reference to the differences between hiking and preparedness.
For one, the exposure time for hiking is finite and pre-defined.
Resupply options of guaranteed quality are available, and above all,
It is a preplanned event with an expected favorable outcome.
These considerations are true and should be positively addressed by any prepper, yet they cannot rob of the value of hiking in instilling (and maintaining) the survival and preparedness principles in a beginner’s efforts. Especially since it does it in an enjoyable, favorable and familiar way.