Survival Debate: Solo or Group

Why is it that almost all End-Of-The-World books and movies feature someone trying to survive alone? Hopefully your loved ones will survive whatever emergency happens and you can work together. Would you really want to strike out on your own forever?

Article by Survival Cache contributing author Chuck

USA Berkey Filters

I got into prepping when I was 13 years old.  I was in the junior Militia unit in my county in the Northeastern United States.  I learned a lot about survival and how to be prepared all the time. They taught me how to cache weapons and how to make inventory lists on time tables so you know when to check and replace things like canned food and dry goods.

Solo

Solo SurvivalPro:

  • Faster Moving
  • Less Supplies Needed
  • Quiet
  • No Arguments

Con:

  • Loneliness
  • No way to take turns on watch
  • No full perimeter security

Group

Pro:

  • Group Support System
  • Extra/Forgotten Gear
  • Survival GroupMore Ideas/Solutions to Problems
  • Divided Work Effort
  • Companionship
  • Divided Watch/Security

Con:

  • More Supplies Needed
  • Arguments
  • Finding a Way to after Bug Out
  • Need Leadership
  • Noise
  • Group Security Considerations

Middle Ground

There really is no middle ground on this one. You are either with a group or you aren’t. Maybe if you are only with one other person.

Your Group?

Those are just some of the things that arise in my group of friends and family. Personally, I feel that we as a group have a better chance at making it through anything that comes our way than we would if we were alone.

Leave a comment and tell us about your survival group and why you choose to go with a team or stay solo.

Also read – “8 Common Mistakes of Wilderness Survival”

Top Photo by: adebnd

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113 thoughts on “Survival Debate: Solo or Group”

  1. IMHO it all comes down to what the actual scenario is. Personally I think that I will never bug out but rather try to bug in and start a community, but because every scenario is going to call for a different plan of action. I think what Dustin said is correct, that SOLO = last resort, but as survivalists and more importantly as preppers we need to be ready to grab whatever problem we may encounter by the horns and conquer it. Prepping is not just stocking up on supplies, but it is also being mentally and physically stable to do whatever it may take to survive. If survival calls for being a lone-wolf, than I will be a lone-wolf.

    Having that said, from what I have been reading, (I might eat my words) most of you are not minimalist. Most of you like some of the pleasures of civilization and would like to keep a few of those pleasures if the SHTF. Therefore the smartest plan of action would be to bug out with a group. Take for example your supplies. A group of people can carry a lot more supplies than a single person. You can break up shelter, food, water, guns, and ammo, and everyone would carry a little. This technique is and has been used by the U.S. Army for 235 years, and it is a proven system. Also, I live on a farm, and even simple tasks that must be done on a daily basis are hard to do by yourself when you are not fatigued, must less when you are tired, hungry, and trying to survive. A single person may be faster than a group, but he is just not as efficient in conserving energy when every calorie counts! Having that said If I were going solo, I would be a minimalist and like The Book of Eli and other media (i.e. Fallout 3) would be a nomad and would not try to live in one place by myself for the rest of my life. (Just my $ .02)

    You can obviously see what system I side with, but remember one thing. If any of you have ever seen the movie Defiance with Daniel Craig (I HIGHLY recommend it), you will understand that a 3-5 man group will quickly turn into 1,000 people if you are not careful!

    Reply
    • Matthew,

      "Prepping is not just stocking up on supplies, but it is also being mentally and physically stable to do whatever it may take to survive."

      Very good point. This site is all about gear, but I try to remind everyone that gear is only half the battle.

      "you will understand that a 3-5 man group will quickly turn into 1,000 people if you are not careful!"

      That would be bad.

      Reply
      • I see your point and and i want to pose this question if you came across a group of people struggling to survive, what would you do avoid them or teach them how to do it right so they can live well. i would not be able to turn my back so there you get your group and you get to be the unoffical leader all in one. I myself like the idea of hitting the woods with friends and family then deciding what to do.

        it all comes down to what works for each indivdual i have some in my group that would love to just be on their own but they know that a group will increase thier survival chances.

        Reply
  2. I think that the initial Bug Out has to be as light as possible, and therefore care for as few as possible. Only your immediate family. Once you get to your Bug Out spot then you can start to a communal group. I agree with the tribe analogy. Our group is set up so that we all meet up at our Bug Out location, about a 3 days hike out of town, but we're all responsible for getting ourselves there. Once there we're able to work together. Long term survival is going to be much easier, and more enjoyable in a small tribe than doing it alone.

    Reply
    • see that option is great for the ones that live in cities or higher population centers than i have. I also am better prepped than most having been doing it so long and all the stuff i have worked out. but it took many years to get to this point.

      Reply
  3. Definitely a group, although not neccessarily a large one. Immediate family is important. If you are willing to desert them, how could you convince another group that you are reliable when you get sick of going solo? Too large a groub is no good either for the initial bug out. Maybe ten or twelve people at the most that you know and trust. With any group, as long as people are fairly level headed and down to earth, leadership issues shouldn't be a problem. Generally someone in the group will prove themselves as the natural group leader without too much of a power struggle, as long as the group is smaller. In a SHTF situation, people that may normally be content to follow should be able to assume the responsibility of leadership. If no one in the group can or will, then they probably were not as prepared to survive as they thought

    Reply
    • For us suburbanites- I think renting is only appropriate if you routinely spend time away from home in the same area(s). Carrying a BOB to work may not even be an option for some- so a nearby facility with even a small, closet sized, rental may be in order. Something you can plop a bicycle, some water, a flashlight and a weapon in.

      Caine30 touched on the subject- If all your good gear is at home when it hits- how do you plan on getting there from, say, your job? A lot of people tend to frown on toting a shot gun at the workplace…

      Even an expected natural occurance, such as a hurricane, can create traffic jams that last for days.

      As for burying stuff- you really are taking a big risk in the Burbs digging into someone else's property. Even a secluded wooded lot could get developed without warning- your cache might endup buried under a Wallmart. If I were to bury anything it would likely be on my own land just in case I became stuck at home for any length of time during an emergency.

      Just in case: http://www.mossberg.com/products/default.asp?id=2

      ~Eastpunk

      Reply
    • To me the whole point is to survive and rebuild a society. I dont see much point if I had to go it completely alone. Maybe in the beginning until some sort of order can be established, but definately not for the long haul.

      Reply
  4. I think a group is the way to go for all the reasons already discussed. I would caution against joining a preexisting group unless you really know a lot about the people. I say this because law enforcement infiltrates any group the politicos feel is or could be a threat. Another trick they use is to start a group to see what comes crawling out of the woodwork. I have found that in trying to talk to people about survival prep they quickly label you Rambo or Dirty Harry. I am learning to approach people a bit differently. Now that it's hurricane season asking what they are doing to prepare could be a good approach.If they are just putting extra beer away for the hurricane party I would drop the subject. Also talking about natural disasters and gauging their response might open the door. I have learned the hard way not to evangelize and hope the people I have talked to in the past forget my name when the SHTF.

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  5. Depends on the specific circumstances. If you're single, no kids, live in (or can get to) a very secluded, private area with plenty of supplies, solo will work. For the other 99 percent of us, group security is the way to go. There will be bad guy groups. Solo might be able to evade, a guy with a wife and kids probably not. Security in numbers = more watchers, more shooters.

    My group is mostly family, but a couple others are invited to the family farm/retreat, or "compound" if we somehow end up in the news 😉

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  6. Perhaps you have more faith in people's good nature than I do, but to me it seems with a group any larger than 4-6 you would need a pre-determined command structure or things would get ugly pretty quick.

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  7. Ideally, a group of 12… we'll call it an "Alpha Team"…

    1 leader, 1 assistant leader, clear chain of command otherwise.
    2 specialists in each of these 5 functional areas with cross-training across the team:

    Operations
    Weapons
    Engineer/demo
    Medical
    Communications

    Oh, wait… that's been done already… 🙂

    J/k there is an excellent book called "Everybody's Outdoor Survival Guide" by Don Paul – it outlines a very efficient way to organize a sustainable team/tribe when the chips are down. Interestingly enough, one role he highlights that is absent from most other guides and books is that of a Chaplain/counselor. It is imperative to keep morale up and have people remain hopeful – this should not be the responsibility of the team leader, as they will not be able to make tough decisions when overly partial or emotionally invested.

    Reply
      • lucas
        that book is in all of my teams homes in some place everyone can get to so our kids can even read it if they need or want to so its a good book to learn from I also have a copy in my pack. along with "everybodies knife bible", "the green berets compass course", and "great livin in grubby times". I have others that i have cached in my shelters off site but those will work to get you by lol. they are all done by Don Paul.

        Reply
  8. I know what you mean aj.

    Another good thing to remember about those conversations is OpSec. As a general rule I don't tell anyone about my prepping or supplies. My immediate family knows, but otherwise no one else.

    I don't need unprepared people showing up at my door after the shtf. That just leaves me with a very difficult decision to make.

    Reply
    • lucas and aj

      i have talked to many people and have rejected just as many for reasons that are to long to get into but you are right and some times it is not bad to be labeled those names. before i was married my second in comand and i lived together. we lived off a road that no one would really call a road but was a good short cut to other places and he and i did not know this till the whole town had already seen us out practiceing with our martial weapons and throwing knives, and a varing degree of other things like the way we dressed when not working I LOVE BDUs and he likes the black sets lol. anyways the town thought we were mercenaries and were afraid to talk to us till we got to know a few of them and helped them get started in preping so it can sometimes make it easier to pick and choose who you talk to if you get those names.

      Reply
  9. Go with the group, think of them as self tending protein… Just kidding.

    This is something I've thought a lot about as I'm not really a group or people person, but if there was some sort of really big collapse I can't see being completely solo as working out very well.

    Reply
    • "Go with the group, think of them as self tending protein" Best comment lol.

      Anyways I'm with you, not such a group/people person and frankly I don't trust people in a survival situation. It's not that I think my family or friends would murder me and loot my corpse, I just don't trust people to calm down and make rational decisions and not do stupid things.

      However, in a real SHTF situation I think I'd want at least a small group for security reasons.

      Reply
  10. i dont really choose to be on the group side of things, but my family is full of paranoid people who have a strong will to survive, and the equipment and skills to do just that. so if TSHTF im fairly certain i will be part of a group. besides the fact that i have a wife and kids of my own. most of my family is a bit further away, so unless the roads end up fairly clear it will be me and my brother bugging in, protecting my family here. we've got a decent set up for that and my brother and i have considerable skill at arms to work with, not to mention survival skills and a large amount of willpower. one of the best things i think about a group is that there is more a chance of someone in your group having skills you dont. my brother is far superior to me in repairing machinery, but i have greater martial prowess. my wife is good at empathizing and a great nurturer, but i am calmer under stress. so a group tends to be more balanced. thats my 2 cents.

    Reply
  11. I think the question here is what do you do when you encounter strangers during a disaster. Taking loved ones is a given, for me at least, but what about people you don't know? Do you join forces, or do you shun them? Taking in new people is always a risk, but I think the risk outweighs the benefit. Most people aren't going to be raiders who come in and take advantage. Chances are that you can add valued members to your group who can help you defend yourself when you come against bad people. Always asses the situation first of course, if a group you encounter doesn't seem to be on the up and up, you may wish to avoid contact with them, but with the rare exception of some kind of biological disaster, you would most likely benefit from more companions.

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  12. For me Its a Family Group thing. I am one of 2 elders now. All that can and will be allowed into the group are blood or marriage or grandchildren.

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  13. Definitely not solo. Mainly because in any confrontation you'd be outnumbered (i.e. robbed and left for dead, if lucky). Never mind loneliness you probably wouldn't last more than a few months unless you joined a group or could avoid all contact.

    I would say be in as large a group as you can feed. Because soon enough there will be competition for resources and usually the larger group wins (assuming similar equipment/intelligence). Of course it can't be too large or the group starves and falls apart. The perfect size depends on the circumstances. For example I'm in the tropics and 20 people could live easily on mangoes, iguana meat, and fishing. (mmm, barbecued iguana)

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  14. Good grief, is the point of survival only to keep breathing? No. Survival is about your family, your friends, your neighbors, mankind. Yes, if you're alone when a disaster happens your only concern for the short term is yourself. But few of us live, work, play or exist alone. I want my mother to survive. I want my brothers and sisters to live. I want my children and grand children to flourish. I like my neighbors and don't want to watch their children lay in the road and die.
    This bug out to the wilderness alone to chew half-cooked rabbit under a camo tarp while evading zombies is crap. We have a humanity-driven obligation to help, at least our family, or someone's family. Doing otherwise is the ultimate of selfish.

    Reply
    • I'll be the asshole keeping the family alive… while you try to comfort the one whos trying to kill you… I literally could live being proven wrong…. on the other hand.. 🙂

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  15. No it's not JUST about survival, but initially it is. You have to take into account the ideology, that anyone you add on to your team, can become beneficial, AND a liability. The first rule in rescue is you cannot rescue anyone if you're dead yourself, so instinct tells us "take care of yourself FIRST". When the dust settles, I would think seeking survivors (if they do not find you first) is a good idea, but realizing that someone will have to assume leadership. Communal rule seldom works in emergency scenarios.

    Bugout, find shelter, hunker down, survive at least the first 72 hours. Then become a community organizer 🙂

    Reply
  16. I know it sounds like an an oxymoron but I believe in a group of 1. This being a small group of people with a sound grasp of survival. Because there are pros to both group and solo, prepare for both so that when the situation calls for say, stealthy moves, the group(4-8 people) can break off into solo and move accordingly. Then when the situation allows, regroup and enjoy the benefits of being in a group that everyone has mentioned. This concept takes a great deal of preparedness, however, because at any time each member may be called upon to go solo and survive.

    Reply
  17. I just bought a NEF personal protector it 's an 870 clone but the price was the reason for the buy
    I also have a Rem1100 and a Mossburge 835 the Rem is for birds the Moss is for turkey & deer
    The PP from new england firearms is for home defence & my new truck gun..OBTW I also have a H&R 10 gauage but I have retired that since I got the 835 it shoots everything from 2 3/4 to 3 1/2 mags.. Good luck finding the shotgun that you are happy with

    Reply
    • that is one thing that never crosses anyones mind about the sickness if you become vary ill what would you do in a group you have others to pick up the slack that you being incompasitated leave so the work is still getting done and if you are alone things would start to fall into disrepair really quickly good point dustin

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  18. I'll take the 45 any day in real world if you have to use 17 rounds you might need to go back to the range and pratice…. you are not fighting a whole army of thugs

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  19. Raisins.
    What a strange item to stock up on.

    Super-long shelf-life (you can pretty much ignore the date on the package).
    Cheap.
    Good quantities of fiber and potassium, plus sugar.

    Fresh fruits, and especially fruits that can be easily transported will probably be hard to come by. Vegetables, too, but you do stand a chance of being able to forage for some leafy greens.

    After living on survival food for 3 days (MREs, energy bars) and likely other crappy food (from a dietary/nutritional standpoint) you'll need some good ole fiber so you can make use of your stockpiled toilet paper.

    Potassium is very important as an electrolyte to go with all of that sodium you'll be ingesting with your MREs (so many are around 40% sodium RDA or more) and canned foods and all of the strenuous physical activities that go with surviving. Raisins will be much easier to tote than bottles of Gatorade.
    Sure, you can eat a banana, if you're on Gilligan's Island, but you probably aren't. I'm not a doctor, but my understanding is that it's not that we (Americans/Westerners) take in too much salt/sodium, it's that we don't take in enough Potassium.

    To boot, they have a good quantity of sugar for calories and quick energy. Kids usually like 'em, too, if that's a concern of yours.

    Reply
    • you saw a small group now are you referring to families or individuals because like is in my Bio here i have Four me my wife and our two kids and i total with my other members i have 13 adults and about 8 or nine kids depending on what age range you call a kid. so what kind of numbers are you talking about if you include families.

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  20. I once asked a well respected firearms expert what was the best best type of gun to have a 9mm or a .45. what he told me is what i have passed on to others, the best one is the one you are comfortable shooting and can hit the target with. Because the calibur doesn't mean a thing if you can't hit what you're aiming at.

    From my military experince any handgun regardless of calibur is considered a defencive or back-up weapon where as a long gun (rifle/shotgun) is considered an aggressive weapon.

    I currently own two 9mm's but I'm planning on buying a Gen 4 Glock 22 (.40) as soon as I can afford it as well as a remmington 870 shotgun and an M-4 version of the AR-15. hopefully I will have what I need when it comes to that time. but 9mm or .45 for me I say 9mm mostly for control reasons.

    Reply
  21. I am an outdoor enthusiast who has some serious gear for camping/hunting purposes which double as survival gear. I love the outdoors, and therefor have a bug out bag as just a basic camp bag – It gets tossed in the boat, the four-wheeler, or truck for emergency and practical uses. Everything in my bag gets routine use (except emergency blanket and first aid kit) – I own plenty of guns for all types of game as well as loads for home defense. I fish quite often and consider a collapsible pole and flies to be a pretty good piece of gear to keep packed for both recreation and emergencies. I live too close to Cabela's I guess 🙂

    I think "sportsmen" should be in its own class – we are "preppers" by default, but do not buy everything with survival in mind as much as we see the necessity for certain pieces of gear as basic needs for enjoying our hobbies. Reading terrain, weather/water patterns, understanding plant and animal life, reading tracks, etc. is just part of hunting/fishing and isn't necessarily a "survivalist" mentality, but it obviously doubles as survivalists skills.

    Reply
  22. If you're going to do a group – standardize wherever possible. My "friends" all carry AR-10's (.308), 870's (12ga), 1911's (.45), or Remington 700's (.308) as well as .22LR. Only requires 2 reloading machines (Dillon 550 with .308/.45 shell plate and Dillon SL-900) with some commonalities of powder.

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  23. Solo should be last resort as stated by other people the simple efforts of surviving are time and energy consuming. Not to mention loneliness, security, and resources. There's a difference between surviving and living.

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  24. I have a feeling that when the SHTF most people will have no clue on what to do to save their own hide, I would be careful with who you hook up with. I believe the majority of people you encounter will be unskilled unprepared, and unable to contribute to you or your group. Sad truth is,I wont be giving up my supplies,equipment and skills to a bunch of free loaders who were too busy living in LA LA land to notice that lifestyles are going to have to change. Ive seen it coming,you've seen it coming, a lot of us have seen it coming, and acted accordingly. Its a shame, because I usually go out of my way to help people, but when TSHTF resources become scarce, and im sorry , friends and family come first. Unless you have skills and equipment that that could be useful to us,then I will share with you what we have so we all can unite and form a stronger group.

    Reply
  25. I tend to agree that this will be difficult. Depending on the situation, taking people in initially (roughly the first 24 hours) will be somewhat safe. Our plan calls for us to take some women in under the right set of circumstances within 24 hours of a bug out. In any case we will be keeping unknowns away from weapons cache, food stores, and water supply. Once we make camp, we won't turn them away, but we'll assist them in setting up small camps outside our security perimeter and help them develop stone age tools. We'll offer some limited protection, but we'll be taking great care to make sure they don't grow too powerful/numerous.. It would be worth your while to make some friends, and have a person owe you their life, especially in a new order of things. If nothing else, these camp will provide you some opportunities to scout out powerful opponents before you have to defend your camp against them.

    Reply
    • This is almost the worst of both worlds. What if these people get greedy or are turned by a hostile group. I’m not saying you have to trust people with every thing but loyalty is better than gratitude.

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  26. Your point about standardizing is fantastic.

    I do have to ask where are you planning on bugging out to? If the nation gets EMPed, you now have a vehicle that doesn't operate, and you have to travel lugging all those guns, powder, shell casings, etc. If you have more than 5 people you should assign people 1 weapon and a sidearm per person. If you have less than 5 people and I had position, I would order my 2 snipers to open fire on you because 1.) you're too heavily armed to leave running around 2.) by the time you found the appropriate weapon to counter me, my snipers would have finished their work, 3.) if I didn't do it, someone else might. It would benefit me to destroy the weapons you're carrying so my enemies can't have them.

    If you bug in, that's the appropriate amount of weaponry, but if you bug out, you should consider lightening your load.

    Reply
  27. I'm curious did you tell the kids about the bug out? I have specific instructions to my team not to, because I don't want them to tell friends. Same thing with wives/significant others, we gave them an emergency plan, and taught them survival skills, but they have no details about the destinations that we've scouted,the clothing stored in their size, the gear we've prepared for them, or the chain of command. Until SHTF, they won't ever know about it. If you have told them, how did they take it? I'm new to this site, can we recommend this as another debate point?

    Reply
    • The weakness being what if your separated from your loved ones or hurt. If you can afford it I would make a really cool expendable location just to teach life lessons to family.

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  28. i personally have a group of about 20 which will be my 3 older brothers 21+ one is a marine one is a chef and ex airforce and one works on aircraft carriers and me all of us are avid shooters and are damn good shots not to toot my own horn=].

    my mom and dad dad is a police officer and my mom has held almost every job immagineable

    my grandpa a handy man but is walking impared so a cane walker or wheelchair is a must ( we have a wheel chair with off road tires and a lift kit so we can store things on) it my aunt and uncle my uncle was in the army and owns a huge property with tuns of guns and ammo and reloading supplies also a work shop for wood metal and auto.

    my girl friend is a must i wouldent even think of leaving her behind plus if it comes down to it we can "repopulate" ;]

    my best friend and his family his dad was in the nevy and now works on the subs and is an avid hunter and prepper his mom is a nurse and his little sister who is a decent shot but i cant leave her and my best friend who is also a good shot

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  29. In my opinion, solo is temporary, in any case at some point we will have the task of rebuilding the world you can't do it alone. Group may be harder in terms of arguements and such but you can't make babies by yourself. Solo is short term, group is long term. You have to figure that at some point, society will take hold again, it won't just be survival forever, it may be a generation maybe not even that , but at some point we'll switch from surviving to living again.

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  30. I posted this elsewhere but it seems appropriate here. If you form your groups now, you have the ability to asked those that don't fit in to leave. Finding out you invited Rambo or some entitled personality into your group can be corrected although there are Op Sec issues. Finding this out AFTER TEOTWAWKI gets really tough. How are you going to expel someone who doesn't want to go and do so in such a way that your survival is not compromised. The expelled person would turn you over to the MZB in a heartbeat for personal gain.
    Also, what do you do with family members who are incapable of contributing to the physical survival of the group. The Russian folk tales of grandma being thrown off the sled to the wolves to allow the family to escape are not totally fiction. Not my choice, but exactly what you intend to do should be addressed. In my situation Bug Out possibilities are very limited so it is absolutely my last option. Never take it off the table, but it is a desperation course for us.
    Finally, how do you approach a camp/group? There is a real reason the "hello the camp" was used in the West. My family members are well aware of the need to call out "hello the house" if they return home in the early morning hours. Once talking what do you offer them? Combat skills are probably a lot less needed than other woodcraft or medical talents. Depending on where you are post SHTF the need for a black smith may not yet be clear so convincing them a skill is valuable may be necessary.
    If we really are living in 'Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome' land, a great many of us just don't make it. If there is a semblance of structure left, we have a chance. One of the things that makes sense to me is to look at the earliest Americans and see how they survived. There was a division of labor and some specialization. At least by the time of the American Indian the war leaders were not always the chief. What makes a good warrior does not always translate into a good civilian leader.
    If another group joins you or you another group, how does that alter the 'chain of command'?
    Finally, the smaller the group, the more catastrophic any injury is. While stories like mountain man Hugh Glass http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Glass exist, his survival was truly miraculous. Since I am the only practiced hunter in my family, my incapacitation has harsh ramifications for the group. It is not always possible to have redundancy in depth but it increases the chance for survival if you do. I suspect each group has to find its own way of operating and tolerating each other. When two groups combine the 'normal' society is upset and a new dynamic has to be established. That is difficult in good times, extremely difficult but critically important in bad.

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  31. I would be willing to bet a whole lot of money that in most of those instances when people were surviving on their own the driving force behind their will to live would have been their desire to return to their family and friends. You never hear anyone who has survived a life or death event say I just really, really wanted to watch TV, that’s what kept me going that next episode of Family Guy.

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  32. if you look on line you can find some good downloads about first aid not that having an EMT on your group would be bad but at least you would have some basic knowledge its better than nothing

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  33. that is awesome i would also think about cross training them on other things i have taken the time to train my wife in how to make hides and hunt as well as first aid and she is taking to the gun classes we have with our other halves well and i guess it helps that most if not all of my friends/group have known each other for at least ten to in some cases 25 years we all mesh well and know we all have jobs to do and we all do them well in order for all of us to survive.

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  34. This is not a slam but more of an observation . From what I read on other web sites and from posters , on this one and others I find a very disturbing trend as a free american . Im in my 40’s so I think for myself and was not brought up in the PC culture and will call a spade a spade . What I see from a growing number of people is planning that points more toward Predation preparedness than Survival preparedness . A raider and a survivalist are not the same thing . I see people training for assault and not defense . If you just enjoy the training for recreation , thats fine , but if your training with the idea of taking from others , then you are not prepared and not a survivalist . A Survivalists goal is to be prepared and to avoid conflict . this is particularly true of the younger generation . Why ? I dont know . I think one factor is the growing militarism of the nation , which should be disturbing to all . Any free people should never tolerate or get used to being at war . It will affect how the population , single or group will behave in the long term . Thats not a positive thing . Thats just an observation . Are you training as a survivalist or a raider ? Look at the type of guns that appeal to you , are you really and truly setting aside stocks to survive an event ? or are you planning simply just to try to take over something ? Most on this site are legitimate preppers / survivalists but on other places …….. not so sure .

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  35. honestly i would be alot better off alone because im the only person in my family that can survive my brother is good with computers and thats all my moms just an idiot but i couldnt leave my girlfreind behind due to morale issues but if it wasnt for her i would be completely alone and survive

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  36. my Neighborhood Preparedness Group. It started almost 17 years ago, with just 3 households, on a close section of the block.

    We decided back then to run our group like a community association with by-laws, rules, regulations and the like. About 6 years ago the seventh household joined our group. We are first a Safety/Security group and then a consolidated knowledge and supply exchange.

    Being as we are a small group, we quickly decided to define the knowledge and skills we felt we would need to be able to:
    a) close off our section of the block;
    b) defend against intrusion;
    c) be as self-sustaining as possible
    d) for as long as possible.

    This required covering items from shelter, water, food, clothing, security, medical/dental, education; to entertainment. As a result our team leaders, team members and instructors were chosen on merit of the knowledge and skills they possess and not on any other criteria. Which resulted in some rather surprising selections; a few of which are: our sniper is a female and our no-see/no-hear recon scout is an adolescent; our strategist is a former Vietnam LAR recon commander.

    Our group consists of 13 adults, 10 children in ages from 8-17 and about 14 “grandfathered” members which are mostly adult children or extended family of the 7 households. We were then and are now, active members of our entire block’s Neighborhood Watch and C.E.R.T. groups, as well as our area’s larger Community Association. Most of the children are active in scouting and 4H; in troupes that are not stuck on urban or gender specific activities and skills.

    We have a good mix of ages, genders, knowledge and skills from: big time DIY’ers; mechanic; physician assistant; EMT; former medic; dental assistant; homeschooler; former combat military leader; professional sharp shooter; arts’n’crafts instructor; hobbyists (knitting, crocheting, sewing) and gardeners. We have major re-loaders, one RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service-communications) member and one household makes its own bio-diesel.

    Of the other households between us we know which ones will be on our side and willing assets, as well as which ones will be a downright problem should the SHTF. We also have plans on how to handle each scenario with these other neighbors.

    We started out with two, now three (as of last year) mandatory meetings a year, along with three mandatory shoots a year, coupled with monthly meetings and shoots and various informal how-to “classes”. During the mandatory shoots we all utilize and clean each other’s firearms so we are all functionally familiar with what is on hand within our group – ie we can all shoot and maintain each other’s firearms.

    Cross-training is also vital to us, again because we are such a small group. We have contingency plans and back-up plans to the back-up plans. We cannot afford to assume that all members will be available, all the time, during any crisis. Some may not be able to make it back to the block in a timely fashion or could fall ill or be injured. With this in mind the rest of us, that are usually home most of the time and are not members of our DSS team, are cross trained in

    barricading our street and in setting up and defending our perimeter defense posts until the rest of our members arrive (particularly our DSS members).

    We have even thrown 4 block parties, complete with permits to close off our block; where after the event we core households studied our weak points and made adjustments to our security plans based on how easily people by-passed our block party check points. The rest of the block only knew about the fun and games – we on the other hand knew differently. Get my drift here ;-}

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  37. PS – My family and Friends (yes capital F) know that if they come to me during a crisis, they must bring a fixed amount of necessity to life items and other supplies with them. I am one person, with 1 person’s worth of supplies that I can effectively rotate; I have limited space so I can give them shelter – not their own bed or bedroom. I have set their expectations realistically by stressing their responsibility to bring their own supplies and be willing to work to sustain them. A preparedness/survival group must do the same!

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  38. my problem is that i live with a large family (8 people living in one house while almost twice that (extended family) would be rushing here as command central) and i am the only person that is prepared to leave (we live in norfolk va the naval base here and the weather risks are extreme not to mention the population risks) so i just fear that everyone will be living off of me if SHTF or TEOTWAWKI. so i might just take off and leave them but that is easier said then done when i would feel like shit for doing so. so really only time will tell what i would do.

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  39. The problem I have with group oriented survival is generally I have minimal family in the area (wife, no kids, sister in the same town) and neither of them are as interested in prepping as me, as are most people. So why should my gear I’ve worked hard to acquire be used by some ignorant buffoon that decides to tag along only to ruin my good knives? (Yes, happened. Not getting into it.)

    Reply
    • Well based on that cavalier attitude you might as well get a divorce since you are gonna let her die instead of using what you have worked hard to get around to survive…You might let her read this post, maybe she will then realize in a SHTF scenerio you are prepared to do whatever you must.

      Reply
  40. My plan fully includes immediate and extended family as well as a few long time and trusted friends.(My best friend actually helped me work out our plans). Every one of them will be expected to do the jobs they are experienced in, eg my grandparents are master gardeners and experts at canning and preserving food, and my wife has nursing background.

    I feel that the lone wolf situation would be the worst case for me. I am a social person for the most part. I couldn't picture living without my loved ones, and am fairly sure that I wouldn't care to. I agree with those that have posted about the benefits of a group for security(more people to watch), work distribution(you try and plant and harvest a garden by yourself while doing everything else you need to do to survive.), and for the simple fact that we humans are social creatures that are designed to live in proximity to others.

    I think when you look at it from a paper perspective the benefits of a group more than make up for the added resource cost.

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  41. I believe the group effort is the best approach for multiple reasons. First being multiple members means multiple skill sets brought to the table. While one man may not be able to navigate, He may be an excellent marksman or farmer or even a mechanic. The possibilaties are only limited to how many brains you bring into the equation. Second what is the point of surviving if you’re alone. I’m sure we’ve all seen Cast Away. Personally I’d rather die with friends than live forever with a volley ball. The only way I would be able to go through with the solitary survivor routine would be with the hopes reuniting with my loved ones. It might sound silly to some but i believe companion ship and how we help others is what makes us human. With out it, what’s the point. And then the are the obvious reasons like security and working in shifts and countless others.
    But i’m not saying a large mob is good idea though. I mean 3-10 close friends and family members. People who give you the motivation to push forward and survive. And people that will bring valuable skills to the table and can also carry their own weight

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  42. I believe the group effort is the best approach for multiple reasons. First being multiple members means multiple skill sets brought to the table. While one man may not be able to navigate, He may be an excellent marksman or farmer or even a mechanic. The possibilaties are only limited to how many brains you bring into the equation. Second what is the point of surviving if you’re alone. I’m sure we’ve all seen Cast Away. Personally I’d rather die with friends than live forever with a volley ball. The only way I would be able to go through with the solitary survivor routine would be with the hopes reuniting with my loved ones. It might sound silly to some but i believe companion ship and how we help others is what makes us human. With out it, what’s the point. And then the are the obvious reasons like security and working in shifts and countless others.
    But i’m not saying a large mob is good idea though. I mean 3-10 close friends and family members. People who give you the motivation to push forward and survive. And people that will bring valuable skills to the table and can also carry their own weight. With out each other we are lost.

    Reply
  43. Well if you have kids i think its necessary to travel in a group. Also if you have family still alive i think you should group up with them [the old saying 'safety in numbers' comes to mind]. but if you have no one i think i would go solo, you cant just trust someone out of the blue.

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  44. i would have to have my family, my sisters's boy friend, my paster's family and any one from my church. but i would not let any one in my grope at all unless i knew them in some way. and as far as leeder ship goes i think the majority of them would vote for me even though i'm 16 i have a lot of survival know how and gear. but my nomber one priority would be to make sure that my family is safe then after that would be my paster's family because not only are they important to me but his daughter is to.

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  45. There are two ways to look at this.
    1) Can you survive solo ?
    2) Why would you want too ?
    Me personaly without a doubt I could make it alone but and I do mean BUT the only way i would do so is if I did not or could not have at least 2 or 3 others with me.
    Why try to change the natural order of things , As humans we are pack animals which is why we all seek a wife or husband, If we do not want marriage then we seek friends , If we do not have friends then we seek A FRIEND,

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  46. One thing I don't see a lot of people commenting on is how prevalent starvation and disease will become. With no infrastructure in the cities and counties, garbage will pile up in the streets, raw sewage will be everywhere, Cholera, Dysentery, and probably Yellow Fever in the Gulf Coast states will be very real threats. My plan is to take my immediate family and get as far off the beaten track as possible and wait things out. We have prepared for this extensively. We have the means to be completely self sufficient for 8 to 10 months and plan to have no contact with others during that time. When we do re-introduce ourselves into whatever society remains, we will do so very carefully and cautiously. There will be 6 people in our group. I'm not going to try to save the world, just my family.

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  47. I'm not sure how old this post is, but my vote is "Group." The Army, which I spent many years in, drove this into us. I.e. "Buddy System." (There however, was an existing rank structure already in place. So in terms of chain of command, you didnt need to create one).
    I relearned the "group" lesson this past summer. If not for me taking both kids and dogs along with on a wilderness hike, I might have lost my right hand or my life. I had an accident and crushed my right hand. Extreme pain, and I went into shock within 3 minutes. (I've said this before, but I was teaching my oldest son how to treat for shock, as I was going into shock. I.e. Teach them First Aid- NOW). Since then, the buddy system is the only way to go. Rambo was a FICTIONAL MOVIE. Special Forces or SEALS never go in alone- NEVER.

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  48. African proverb: "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with a group."
    Food for thought: Does your group have a "herd" or "pack" mentality?

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  49. My opinion is this: Train and prepare for a solo existence, but when the time comes, try and form up on a small group. Better survivability.

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  50. One thing is if you pick your group wisely then you. Ll not have to worry about extra suplies… and each person should be abul to deal with there own. Another good thing about groups is that if you don’t have some skills another will be abul to pick up the slack. Like the only first aid skills I have are aplying bandaids but a friend of mine has had medical training but he lacks in tracking skills and fire building skills witch I have had exspirience in… ans sleeping in shifts some one will always be on guard so I feel a group would have the most advantage and one can always go scouting so technicaly solo is still posible for a time

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  51. This assumes that you have a legitimate chance to put together a decent group. I'm preparing to take my girlfriend, my family, and her family, but to tell you the truth, most of that is only because of blood. I don't know many people who I would trust or even be able to work with in a disaster situation, and most of the people who might have useful skills, are hardheaded or ignorant to a fault., and meeting people solely for the purpose of prepping together doesn't seem safe or reliable to me, as it would betray my OpSec to forge a bond which would be frail. I believe that soldiers can form a bond by training, but what says that this person and I actually get along well enough outside of prepping to make that bond deep enough? So far, I'm either taking my family, or no one.

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  52. I am still holding firm to a team mentality. My team has been training hard to prepare for the coming storm, hell we even help some in the community. But right now I turned my team over as I am not mentally capable to run the unit in a time of crisis due to a recent development called divorce I love my wife but she is leaving all the same. I also am of mind enough to admit it I could not do my duty with the schedule so I turned over command to my XO for now till this is over then we can continue but its all about trust.

    Reply
  53. I am sitting on the fence on this one, I can see both sides, if for example, my wife was separated from me for any reason , as in the other side of the country or another part of the world because I am away on a trip, then if that happened I would have to go solo and make my way back home, my priority would be to get back with her, so I would travel light and fast as I could, then getting back home I would set up a small group of pre arranged people who I could trust to join in .

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  54. I think it depends on the type of situation you are in, If you have not that much danger and you need to stay in one spot for a while till things get back to normal, a group is better because you have more people to help with daily camp chores. But, if you haft to leave in a hurry just for a day or to and there is immediate danger, its better to be solo, cause you only need to look out for yourself, not worrying about attracting attention.

    Reply
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    Reply
  56. I say group
    My group consists of my godfather (a police officer)
    My brother (navy)
    Cousin (marine force recon)
    Brother ( mechanical genus)
    Brother ( great shot and good at following orders)
    Mother and sister ( no applicable talents but would feel shitty for leaving them)
    Best friend (army)
    Best friend (no relevant talents but he is a quick learner and knows that if someone know what they are doing and he doesnt to let them decide what to do)
    Family security guards ( all special forces such as delta force recon and devgru)
    Myself obviously (no military experience but am an eagle scout great shot goods with mechanical devices and have qualified on several police and military tests as well as 5 years in just about every shooting sport you can think of)
    Good friend (medical genus)
    Personal trainer (navy EOD)
    All of the workers that live on the location of my bug out plans
    Carter (family butler 9 years SAS)
    I trust all of these people with my life and can think of no better group of men and women to have with me when the shit hits the fan!

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  57. Good luck to you all. In case you should not survive, please be prepared by remembering to go to confession, receive the holy communion and become baptized if you are not already baptized and get those that are not baptized, baptized. Learn a few good prayers. My favorite prayers are: The Lords Prayer, The Apostles Creed, Psalm 18, Act of Contrition, Sacred Heart of Jesus and a prayer of Thanks. Have your spirit ready to go home in the event their is no physical way our bodies can endure. G0D BLESS HIS CHILDREN, His Animals, HIS PLANET and ALL OF HIS CREATIONS BIG AND SMALL! G0D BLESS G0D and HIS ANGELS that serve him!

    Reply
  58. We lived in a community of 5,000 – disparate, always at war with each other, forming factions, dissolving factions, 28 (count 'em!) churches – that shows how argumentative and separatist they could be, each one trying to hold power over the others.

    So – we moved. Now we live in a (carefully chosen) community of 150. Everyone can do everything – together and separately. Everyone minds his/her own business, except when someone is in trouble – then folks pitch in and help. Druggies and social dependents, drunks, etc, all come – and leave when they are shunned and can't form their little drama plays. Everyone knows everyone else, and we call each other if a stranger comes in… "Do you know them? Are you OK?" Some are mechanically inclined, others sew, cook, bake, raise fruits and vegetables, beef and pigs and chickens, woodwork, weld – and we trade for what we need.

    On the outside, we are a small useless little town, nondescript and failing. Everything to the untrained and cursory eye is dilapidated and falling apart. Drive by, nothing to see here. But we are a lively group, who can and stock and create and prepare – for any and everything, from this week's blizzard to last summer's fires.Whenever someone goes to the "big city" they take a list from the community – for everything from nails and planks to bullets. Our neighbors and we all hunt and fish and have property where we all shoot – and we'll shoot rabbits, or turkeys, or mountain lions tht pass thru. We watch each others houses, gardens, livestock, and property – and we consider it 'neighborly'.

    We found this place 6 years ago… there are others like it, all you have to do is look, go down to the local watering hole, and shut up and listen… after a few, people talk about what they really think and feel, and you can get a feel for the place. If it isn't what you want, move on.

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  59. Need people to play different roles, for instance if you have a trauma nurse, military man, hunter, and a mechanic in your group than your in good shape.

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  60. Group are more favorable in most situations. 1. If you are bugging out, security is always going to be a factor. Groups have to be cultivated and progressive at all times. 2. Supplies can be shared but don’t have to be. Each member of the group should be prepared to have there own supplies. 3. Preparing a secured bug out location is easier, due to the increased budget and extra hands. 4. Leadership is easy, its a democracy.

    major decision are voted on. 5. Different expertise and points of view make for a better chance for survival.

    Reply
  61. Solo or group are both viable options! I am by nature a loner, but can get along with most people. My biggest issues with groups mostly have to do with trust. The way people act in a normal situation usually is very different from the way they would act in SHTF, some would step up, some would break down and cry! Just because a person claims for example to be a good hunter, (never gets skunked, supposedly) doesn't mean he really is and/or the situation after SHTF would probably be much different than now. The availability of large game probably wouldn't last long! One person (preferably with dog) is more mobile and easier (if experienced) to feed; but the group can be more secure but harder to feed, especially longterm! Growing enough food for large groups would be challenging at best, raiding the surrounding area would probably be necessary, increasing the risk/probability of conflict with other groups. War was essentially unknown (or at least unrecorded) until small villages started growing into towns or cities, increasing competition for natural resources. Most of us wouldn't be able to support ourselves like people did many years ago, (before government welfare systems and massive over-population) and that assumes that the SHTF situation wasn't a natural (or unnatural) disaster like a super volcano eruption or large asteroid impact or nuclear winter, etc. that would make agriculture difficult if not impossible for years. I try to prepare for solo (with dog) and for group (immediate family) survival as best I can; a man can do no less! Good Luck!

    Reply

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