Introduction: Map Reading and Apocalypse Planning

Hi! This is meant to share my expertise in wilderness planning and navigation. Please don't by any means see it as an end all be all guide to navigation and if you get lost its you're liability not mine. All that said, let's start off with what you need.

Step 1: Proper Tools

A Map (of all areas involved)
A Compass
A Planning Sheet

It's important that the map you get is a topographical map because in the case of an apocalypse you'd be best served to stay away from roads where looters and dead bodies will be plentiful. I guess you could use a road map in a pre apocalypse non wilderness situation but that's not really the point of this instructable. A USGS survey map if you're in the US works superbly. With USGS topographical maps each map is known as a quadrangle. It's important to note which quadrangle you're in and get your quadrangle's map as well as the map for all of the surrounding quadrangles. If you have a base it's good to get all of the quadrangles near your base and put them up on a wall so you can have a large frame of reference strategically and a lot of alternate bug-out points in case your first destination is found to be unsafe,

A compass is a must have because you can't navigate without it when bushwhacking or when visibility is low. The compass pictured here is a vintage Boy Scouts compass that works perfectly. Any compass like this is well suited for wilderness travel and planning. You may have very well noticed that I have broken the cardinal rule of compasses in this picture in that it doesn't have a lanyard. Always make sure your compass has a lanyard, because more often than not if it doesn't, you will lose it and if you do you will likely die and nobody wants that.

A planning sheet is where you plan your journey, it's good to have these printed on waterproof paper in case of the inevitable spit of rain or in case you fall in a body of water with them. I've attached two route planning sheets to this step: one in a PDF file and one in a Word document.

Step 2: Idenfify Destination

There are several factors that contribute to an ideal bug out location. The first is defense. It's good to have something high up. Preferably surrounded by crags so you minimize the sides you need to defend. The mountain pictured in this step (MLB 1562) would be the best location on this quadrangle to bug out to. This is because there are large crags just north of the location and there is a good water source near by. Water is important as it is impossible to go more than a few days without water. Also, if you don't have any means of purification make sure you drink from very near the source.

Step 3: Identify Route

Once you have identified your destination you should make a route to your destination. For the sake of example we'll assume that we start our journey in Stanleytown, VA. From there trace a path (be sure to stay on dotted lines as much as possible as they are foot paths and thus inaccessible to cars and worthless to looters) to your destination. You'll note that the pictures that I have included are of all of the junctions and intersections along the way to the destination.

Step 4: Write Your Route Planning Sheet

For the route planning sheet you need several things. The first is the starting compass heading. You can get that from a map. First. line up the arrow on the clear part of your compass in the direction that your path is. Then, put the arrow inside the movable circle parallel with the side of the map. Make sure the arrow is facing up. Then record the heading indicated. There are three examples of this done for each of the three intersections along the route. The second part is the time to finish. For that you first need to find the distance. Take a piece of string or cordage and trace it along your planned route. Then measure how long this is. You then need to figure out how many miles of that is uphill and make sure to add time for the slower pace you will have when going up hill. To get a good estimation of your pace go on a hike with a large pack and record your time doing a mile on level ground and a mile of steep incline. The time of day is gotten using the start time of the leg added with the amount of time the leg will take. To find how many feet were climbed in one leg simply add all of the contours when the path is going uphill and then multiply that number by how many feet of elevation correspond to each contour. Always make sure to have places on each route where you can change the route in case of bad weather or an emergency such as an ambush or a hurt group member.

Step 5: Conclusion

*GPS Voice*

You have reached your destination.

I hope that this instructable has given you the knowledge you need to get to your bugout location. Always make sure to make a route planning sheet every time because it really truly helps out in the backcountry. Now that you've arrived safely at your destination the rest of the apocalypse is yours. Have fun surviving it.

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