Trail Signs – Communicate Secretly

trail markersSurvival Prepper Joe – by Joe Touchtone

What does the CIA and a hobo have in common?

Both love secret communications.

And if you’re on the trail, it’s a good idea to know a few of their methods.  


– Infographic of the most used hobo trail signs

– High tech “dead drops” explained

– A hobo song (for when you’re on the trail)

Here we go!

Need For Secret Communications

Being able to mark, read, and share secret communications can be VERY useful in grid down situations.

Just like tracer rounds, information works both ways, and it is useful to conceal yours.

If we look to folks who are living “grid down” every day, their skills can show us the way.

Spies and hobos are generally viewed as unwanted threats, and find themselves in hostile environments without the help of resources other than what they carry.

They are grid down. And if they get it wrong, it’s usually their lives at stake.

Perfect. ;-)

These techniques work incredibly well with your DIY drone, and can be used to guide wanted people to safety when you’ve protected your BOL.

The CIA has been using secret forms of communication since its beginning.

Hobos — migrant workers from the time of the great depression who rode freight trains — used trail markers.hobo trail signs

These signs can alert you to danger, or safe haven, ahead.

Locations of needed resources like clean water, food, and a safe place to camp can all be spelled out with a piece of chalk or charcoal to be read by other friendly’s who know your markings.

Trail Signs

It might be a great idea to print this infographic out.

Even better — email these trail signs to all your “people” to print out and keep handy, just in case.

Can’t hurt to be a bit too prepared, right? ;-)

These are the hobo signs that can be used to mark a trail into or out of a place.

Some won’t be as relevant in grid down, like “judge.” But with a little creativity, even these signs will be very useful.

hobo signs

You can find more hobo signs at Hobo Signs.

High Tech Dead Drop

Here’s a spin on the older methods that is just pretty cool.

This is true “in the loop” only sharing of information, and it requires some advanced geo-caching.

But once it’s set up, it can be extremely effective.

In the article “Old spying lives on in new ways” the BBC reported on just how these high tech communications can be deployed.

Dead-drop updated

The old idea of the dead-drop (‘letterboxes’ the British tend to call them) – by the oak tree next to the lamppost in such-and-such a park etc – has given way to hand-held computers and short-range transmitters.

Just transmit your info at the rock and your ‘friends’ will download it next day. No need for codes and wireless sets at midnight anymore.

And this would be pretty easy to setup.

The only real concern would be a long term power source (which a well concealed DIY solar charger might help) and waterproofing.

With this, you and your group can transmit whatever you like digitally.

Just keep in mind the changes in season, foliage, and weather for the long haul.

Hobo Trail Song

And as promised, here’s a fun hobo song, for those long nights on the trail.

Enjoy. :)

How will you stay in touch when the grid is down?

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