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Camp Security for Preppers

After TEOTWAWKI, you may find yourself bugging out on foot for an extended period. Setting up camp is about more than pitching a tent and starting a campfire. In a post collapse world, camp security for preppers requires you to  not only deter wild animals, but also marauders. Regardless of how elaborate your camp is, camp security is a must.



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It might be a sleeping bag in a lean-to with a small warming fire at the entrance. It could be a wall tent with five or six hunters high in the backcountry. It might be a recreational vehicle parked at the end of a road, a hiker's bivouac on the shore of an alpine lake, or a place to run to in the event of a natural disaster or unrest in the big city. Whatever the reason for the camp, chances are the camper or campers will have to leave, to hunt, to fish, to hike, to go for supplies. Even if you don't leave you have to sleep. While no camp should be left unguarded, with no doors or locks — there will be nothing between looters and you.

After dark, the camp and campers are also vulnerable to the creatures (four-legged and two-legged) that roam the night. Backcountry camps, both in and outside of established campgrounds, are vulnerable to theft and invasion. After TEOTWAWKI, no area of the country will be immune.

At your bug-out location, you should have some sort of early warning system that can alert you to a threat before the threat reaches the threshold of the front door. It might be a dog in the yard or the sound of a trip alarm. In a tent or a shelter, that door is the door of your tent and by then the intruder is inside your personal space.

Examine each campsite with a view to strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Is the site defensible? What paths lead into and out of camp? Is water close by? What distances must be traveled to find food or go for supplies? Are there wild animals that might make midnight raids on the camp kitchen?

A camp within a day's walk of a town is likely to have at least a few individuals that make their homes in the woods nearby. How likely would the camp be found by another group bugging out or  even marauders?

camp security preppers

Security is about deterrence. A four-legged predator is likely to stay outside the circle of firelight or a ring of lights. But a two-legged predator may be attracted by illumination. A one-tent camp is more likely to attract thieves than a camp with more than one shelter. The reason? An intruder that chances on an encampment will have to turn his back on one tent to enter the other. One tent may be empty, but the other might be occupied by a prepper with a 12-gauge.

When camped away from others, establish the illusion of more people in camp. One good way to do that is to put out extra chairs around the fire. Think force multipliers. Use a decoy tent in such situations. A larger tent might serve as food and gear storage, and another tent nearby, perhaps camouflaged, might be used for sleeping.

Set up camp with a thought to where and how the food will be stored, prepared, and disposed of. Garbage is the main attractant for most predators. A bear can smell bacon grease up to three miles away. It might be spooked off by the human smell and it might not. Coyotes are prone to prowl the perimeter of the camp. If the smell of food is overwhelming, coyotes become a nuisance. Raccoons and skunks are even more likely unwanted guests. Neutralize food smells by burying garbage or removing it from camp. One of the best early warning systems is a dog that catches the scent or sound of the intruder. Some dogs are better than others, but the fact is that the camper may not be accompanied by a dog or may not own one. How then can a campsite be secured?

Establish a safety zone in which any prowler might be considered a threat. One hundred yards from the fire might be too far, but a radius of 40 to 60 yards might be appropriate. A perimeter system can be as elaborate as a solar-powered electric fence with a battery backup or as simple as a taut fishing line with empty beer or soda can rattles employed on likely ingress and egress paths.

One 360-degree perimeter system uses a spin-cast fishing reel with six to ten pound fishing line. Run the line around camp, then secure the reel in the sleeping area with the drag set low. If the perimeter line is hit by an intruder, the reel will begin to click as the line pulls out.

Another option is a battery-powered motion sensor, but such systems are likely to be tripped by bats, squirrels, and other small varmints and might cause more annoyance than they are worth.

We will have some lightweight, portable perimeter security systems to be reviewed and will share that with as available.