Skill – Overnight Positions

Camp Site

In the world of preparedness, we gather camping gear, and prepare for “bugging out” with all our cool-guy gear, food, and supplies, but have we considered that camping in a Without Rule of Law situation will be DANGEROUS?  Security will become crucial.

Military forces the world over have been camping in dangerous situations for thousands of years, and have perfected it to an art form.  There is no need to re-invent the wheel, so we’ll borrow our skills from them.

This topic will be fleshed out more in the upcoming Tactical Wisdom book series, in our Field Skills Series.  This is will be a small preview.

We won’t necessarily be camping in squad sized formations, so we will begin with the smallest of options, the Lay-Up Position or LUP.  This is a temporary halt position that could also be used for overnight camping, or over-day if you are moving at night.  A LUP could also be described as a “hide”.

The first thing that we need to do, no matter what our movement purpose or type of camping we’re doing, is checking to make sure that we aren’t being followed.   In a WROL situation, someone may have seen you and wants to follow you and see where you are camping to either steal your gear or worse.

Hasty Ambush

Once you have reached the area you want to stay in, step off away from the direction you had been moving, walk a little ways back down the trail, a set up a “hasty ambush”, watching the route you just walked down.  Watch this area for 30-60 minutes to make sure you aren’t being followed or tracked.  Don’t shorten this time frame, because a good tracking party would be 30-60 minutes behind you to keep from from being seen.

Never camp or rest directly on the route you are taking for this reason.  When establishing a LUP, or “Patrol Base” for a larger group, move 50-100 meters away from the route you have been taking at right angles to it.  Find suitable ground there.

But Moses said, “Please do not leave us.

You know where we should camp in the wilderness,

And you can be our eyes.”

Numbers 10:31

Unlike traditional camping, suitable ground isn’t a large open space with a fire ring.  We are looking for an area with no signs of human activity, meaning no people pass through there.   It should be well-concealed from any paths or roadways, and offer good views of any ways to approach it.  It only needs to be large enough for whatever you are using to sleep in.

Let’s discuss that aspect.  There is a tendency among people to buy the largest and most spacious tent.  For our purposes, that’s more than we need.  If we are moving to a more-permanent bug-out location or conducting security patrolling, we only need a 2-3 man backpacking tent, or just even just a camouflage tarp/poncho.

We could just lay out a sleeping bag or a “Ranger-Roll” (poncho liner attached to a poncho), and maybe set a tarp up over it, yet still low to the ground.  

Whatever you choose, our campsite only needs to be large enough to hold it, not massive. 

For the purposes of this discussion, we’re assuming that we’re either patrolling or traveling fast, and are therefore just throwing a tarp over our sleeping bag or just using a sleeping bag.  

Remember, elaborate camp set ups will need to be taken down in the morning, even if you intend to stay in the same location all day.  The reason for this is that if you are detected or approached, you need to be able move out or hide, without leaving anything behind.  Resist the temptation to turn your LUP into a “Glamping” extravaganza.

You should have a “contact” plan prearranged each time you stop, so that everyone knows what to do and where to go in the event someone either walks into your camp and attacks it.  It can be as simple as meeting 100 meters away from the camp to regroup.

In the first set up, we are just talking about two people.  This would be the same if it was two adults, traveling with children.  We are talking about two people of an age that they are contributing to site security.

If you have two people, they would set up with their heads facing in opposite directions, so that each, if they sat up or rolled over, could cover one-half the perimeter, allowing 360 degree coverage with no movement.  Any children could be placed between them.

When the team is moved up to 4 people, all of them should sleep with their feet in the center, heads facing outboard, each in a different direction.  This way, by rolling onto the stomach, each can cover 1/4 of the perimeter.

But what about 3 people?  Arrange them in a triangle, head to feet.  Each could then cover 1/3 of the perimeter.  The point is to always be considering security.

If the LUP is used only for a short day-time halt, they take the same orientations, facing outboard, with the rucksack on the ground, and them sitting, leaning on the rucksack/backpack or laying behind it using it as a weapons rest.

When discussing security at night, a 2-man team would probably get their security from the small footprint of 2 people and remoteness of the LUP location.

For a 4 person or larger team, each person could take a turn on sentry duty, but rather than getting up and moving to sentry post, they would just sit up where they are sleeping, and scan all 360 degrees.

In a WROL situation, security cannot be stressed enough.  There will be desperate people out and our society already is on edge, imagine it after 3 weeks of no electricity.

A side note on security is that twilight, both evening and morning, are the most dangerous times, because the dark ground and light sky make it hard to see and distinguish shapes.  Everyone should be awake and 100% alert, watching their sectors during twilight, both times a day.

To recap, pick a remote site that you can see anyone approaching, arrange yourselves for security, and assign security shifts if you have more than 3 people.  Also, keep the site small, and minimalist, so that you can dismantle it silently and quickly.

Practice setting up and taking down your camp silently, and once you’ve mastered that, start practicing it at night.

I’ll close with some reminders from Roger’s Rangers, first written during the French and Indian War (1759):

  • When we march, we keep moving until dark, so as to give the enemy the least possible chance at us.
  • When we camp, half the party stays awake while the other half sleeps.
  • Every night, you’ll be told where to meet if surrounded by a superior force.
  • Don’t sleep beyond dawn.  Dawn’s when the French & the Indians attack.
  • If somebody’s trailing you, make a circle, come back on your own tracks, and ambush the folks that aim to ambush you.

You may notice that these are all the same principles that are discussed above.  Only our tools have become more modern, the basic skills have remained the same for hundreds of years.

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Published by JD

I am the author of the Tactical Wisdom Series. I am a personal protection specialist and a veteran of the US Marine Corps. I conduct preparedness and self-defense training.

One thought on “Skill – Overnight Positions

  1. Very well written and the native tells it like it should be done, when packing up make sure you have the reward lookouts in position before starting ear nown.


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