> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Solo vs. Group Survival



Solo vs. Group Survival

Having a group of survival-minded friends/family to help weather the end of the world is probably the single most important prep that you can have. Let's consider for a moment some of the challenges of trying to survive entirely on your own:
  • Limited defense ability--the bad guys will come at you in gangs and groups
  • You have to do everything--no ability to specialize or share the workload
  • Limited skillset to draw from
  • What happens when you get injured or sick?
Surviving on your own and even in a small group will be a challenge. There is a reason that humans tend to form tribes, clans and gangs--there is safety and viability in numbers.

That isn't to say that surviving on your own is entirely foolish or hopeless. The strategy, however, must be one focused on stealth and avoidance. You can't win a conflict of any major size, so you have to escape the notice of any potential aggressors--stay hidden. Operate mostly at night. If you do make contact with an enemy force, you lay down some suppressing fire and run for it.

Your preps should also be planned with stealth in mind. Any kind of decent-scale farming or gardening is out--you will need stored foods that can be prepare easily. Water is another thing to keep in mind--you will want to avoid leaving your hide site for water collection, so stored water, low-profile rain water catchment or a source of water at your hide site will be important. Camouflage is a must--personal camo and camo for your hide site and gear. Your rifle should probably be of a sniper type, outfitted with magnified optics and able to observe and engage threats from distance. Night vision gear, suppressed weapons and security equipment would be of extra value to the solo survivor. You will also want to be able to bug out quickly and quietly--gear caches and multiple hides sites will give you options if your primary hide site is compromised.

If you're going to pursue a group survival strategy, you have the ability to rely on others (at least to an extent). Types and sizes of groups vary--a small retreat group, neighborhood militia, an entire town or even an entire region. Whatever the size, you will need to contribute to your group in a substantial way, so having an area of survival specialization will be valuable. A unique skill that makes you valuable, even essential to the survival of the group. If the group is of decent size, you will see the emergence of a local, barter-based economy, so barter goods may also be valuable. With the ability to share workload and with multiple mouths to feed, food production will be important. There may also be an opportunity for local production and specialization in other areas.

Preps-wise, a group-based survivor will lean more towards barter, handouts and preps for helping a large group or community--things like comms gear, gardening/food production, other local production gear, medical supplies and so on. Stuff that the average family (or group member) won't have and that can't be easily improvised. After TEOTWAWKI, you will be acting as a leader and mentor to your group, helping equip them with the skills and gear necessary for their survival and to enable them to help you survive. Where a solo survivor will focus on stealth, evasion, etc., the group survivor will lean towards people skills, leadership and teaching ability. 

Having a group is not a magic bullet to survival, of course--you've got to be realistic. You won't be able to take on a force larger and/or better equipped than you are, and with several dozen or hundred people, your ability to run and hide is limited. The group itself can also end up turning against you--confiscating what you have or putting you in a situation that gets you killed.

Either strategy can work in a rural or urban area, though rural does traditionally have the advantage. The sheer competition present in a heavily populated area makes survival challenging--lots of big groups competing for survival. Either approach can work with bug in plans or bug out plans, too.

You can also certainly hedge your bets and plan for both--plan to work with a group and then fall back to a small group/stealth approach if that fails.

I'm interested in seeing what everyone's current plans are? Do you have an organized "survival" group? Tentative plans to join forces with family and friends? Anyone planning to take a solo/small group stealth approach? Let us know in the comments section below!