Survival Friday: The Hide Site

Survival Friday: Excerpt from The Green Beret Survival Guide SurvivalFinal

Your hide site is the alternative to your home.  It is where you plan to survive during a moderate to extended emergency when your home is untenable.  It is not the place where your team gathers:  that is the ERP—Emergency Rally Point.

There are no hard and fast rules when you should utilize the hide site.  Every situation is going to be different.  The key is to prepare the hide site and caches.  They cannot be prepared after the emergency has begun.

When thinking about a hide site, use the term BLISS.

  • Blends in with surroundings
  • Low in silhouette
  • Irregular in shape
  • Small in size
  • Secluded

Already, though, I can see an exception to this guideline.  There might be a time when bunkering up in a high rise might be an option.  Zombies, you know.  Or virals.  But also a massive chemical/biological attack might make a top floor position desirable.  In the military, a maxim is to seek the high ground for defensive purposes.

The key to the hide site is to stay hidden.  That’s your best defense.  It is where you rest, recover, and live.  How long depends on the emergency.

A key to the hide site is a Catch-22:  water.  You need water, yet water will draw other people, including predators, both human and otherwise.  Consider locating the site within a half hour walk of a water source.  That allows you to draw water, but not be so close that casual passerby’s will stumble across your site.

The hide site should have concealment first and cover second.  The difference between the two is this:  concealment means you are hidden from observation.  Cover means the position has protection against direct and indirect fire weapons (remember, arrows are indirect fire, as Custer learned).   The reason I prioritize concealment over cover is because the best defense is not to be found.

In the movie Panic In The Year Zero, a 1962 movie by Ray Milland, the family escapes a nuclear attack on Los Angeles towing their camper.  When they get to a remote site where that had vacationed before, the father vetoes staying in the camper, over the protests of his family, and makes them move into a cave.  A young couple takes over the camper, seeing it as an easy refuge.  They are found shot to death within a few days.  The lesson:  don’t take the easy location as your hide site.  That movie is an interesting one to watch.  Critical reaction was mixed.  Many decried that the family descended to the same level as those they fought with.  My philosophy is better that than dead.

I’ve thought about it and I believe the best hide site is a spot, within a half hour of water, that allows you to set up however many tents or shelters your team will require.  This keeps the hide site clear until you need it.  It also allows you to move your shelter when you need to.  You will have alternate hide site locations already scouted out, that you can fall back to if your primary hide site becomes compromised.  Consider your hide site compromised if one of your team members leaves and doesn’t come back.

Backing up slightly, how do you get to your hide site?  If you drive to it, make sure to leave the vehicle far enough away, at least two miles, so that it doesn’t point others toward your site.  Disable the vehicles by taking an engine part.  Assume the vehicle will be looted, but perhaps you can use it if you return with the part.  The easiest part to take is the main fuse.  You can conceal the vehicle as much as possible, but if you drove it there, it’s on a trail that takes vehicles which means others can drive there too.

Another thing to consider is putting your hide site behind a gate that can be locked.  Many parks, logging roads, etc, have lockable gates.  Cut the current lock on it, drive through, out of site, and put your own lock on the gate.  Still, keep at least a two mile distance between the vehicle and your hide site.

As soon as you are settled in your hide site, search out an escape route and a new ERP and a new hide site and make sure everyone knows where they are.

When getting water, don’t use the same trail all the time.  Mix it up.

Always maintain security.  One person must be up and alert at all times.


About Bob Mayer

Bob Mayer is a NY Times Bestselling author, graduate of West Point, former Green Beret (including commanding an A-Team) and the feeder of two Yellow Labs, most famously Cool Gus. He's had over 60 books published including the #1 series Area 51, Atlantis and The Green Berets. Born in the Bronx, having traveled the world (usually not tourist spots), he now lives peacefully with his wife, and said labs, at Write on the River, TN.

Posted on June 6, 2014, in Write It forward and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. This is one of the hardest things for me to come up with. While a water source in this area isn’t hard to find, a secure hiding place is problematic, due to the number of hunters — from all over the state and several other states — who are out nearly year round. It’s amazing the things they tell they see while hunting.

  2. These are terrific blog posts!!

  3. Excellent tips . I need to have my character make mistakes, not out of stupidity, but common sense. i think camping near a water source would seem logical for a character and then exposing their vulnerability to others could lead to some interesting predicaments. Thanks again.

  4. Carlene A Walker

    Bob I have e-mailed you in regard to attending one of your writing on the river and not received a reply. I have written a book by a women for women on preparation and survival. I need help getting the right agent and publisher. Please call 303 986 4546 or e-mail me at Is there a phone number I can call you?
    Interesting stuff on “hiding places”. I have gone into great lengths to cover this information in my book.
    Regards Carlene A. Walker

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