Things To Consider Before Bugging Out

Guest Post by Michael

pic bugging out to forestA year or so ago, I became interested in preparing for a disaster, so I went to the Internet to see what other folks are doing to prepare. I was surprised to learn the number of people who have been preparing for quite some time, and also at the level of their preparations; purchasing remote properties, building up a personal arsenal, and buying and storing food stocks for their families.

I figured I needed to ‘get on board’ and start my own preparations. I had a lot to do and a lot to consider; food stocks, weapons and ammunition, off-the-grid living, communications, tools, skills, bug out bag, get home bag, maps, cash, precious metals, and much more. Whew!

I am a planning-type person, and I don’t usually do anything without careful consideration and a solid plan. I like to think through what I will do, what I might need in the way of tools, parts, etc., and what my desired results are before I begin a project. Like all my projects, whether they be a family vacation, changing the brakes on my car, or preparing for a disaster, I feel a need to plan.

I decided to work on my preparedness tasks in parallel. As I was building up my food stocks, I also built up my weapons and ammo stock, and continued to read and learn about preparedness and survival. When I began to tackle a bug out plan, I found the task quite difficult as I thought through the three elements of how I tackle projects:

  1. What is the task or tasks involved?
  2. What items and tools will I need?
  3. What are my desired results?

Right away, I knew the answer to question three. In a bug out situation, I desired to stay alive and have the best quality of life possible for the situation. Answering questions one and two were not so easy. The planning gene in my head caused me to think about what actually is involved with pre and post “bugging out” in order to answer the first two questions. As I thought about making my plan, a sound solution to bugging out became quite murky.

There are many websites, blogs, and videos available via the Internet that provide information, ideas, and examples of bug out situations, bug out equipment, and bug out strategies, and I eagerly studied as much as a I could. I initially thought bugging out was a mighty fine idea when the SHTF. After careful consideration, though, I have concluded that bugging out should be my last resort, my “plan Z”, and only after I’ve tried every possible way to avoid it. I offer these bug out cons for your consideration:

The Plan

Everyone should have a plan and equipment for bugging out for those extreme situations when your back is to the wall, or marauding gangs are torching every house on your street. If you must bug out, have a pre-planned destination, and you must get there before your supplies run out. Essential to your bug out plan is to clearly define the condition(s) that would trigger your “got to bug out” alarm.

Remember, though, you’ll be quitting your job, abandoning your house, and your bills will pile up in your overflowing mailbox and remain unpaid. When a crisis occurs, you will not have time to make a successful bug out plan, so you must make your plan now. Anyone can make a plan, but it takes careful thought and consideration to make a successful plan.

Quality of Life

The notion of bugging out is quite simple; grab your stuff and go. However, after bugging out and arriving “somewhere”, then what? What will you do and what will be your quality of life? When you are at home, all your equipment, food stocks, weapons, and gear are basically within easy reach.

If you have prepared and planned well, you can stay indoors for quite some time and enjoy a high quality of life. You can continue to sleep in your bed, have a bathroom down the hall, and even keep up with current events and what’s happening in your neighborhood.

The act of bugging out brings on its own set of potentially dangerous problems that you will have to deal with and suffer through “on the fly.” In all of my Internet travels, I have yet to see a bug out bag that was stocked and equipped as well my home. Bug out bags usually provide basic survival-type equipment and rations for up to 7 days.

The prospect that my situation would become that much more precarious after my rations ran out is none too appealing. Can I really depend upon hunting, fishing, and berry scavenging?

Land Mines

You are much safer in your own home in most situations. With adequate planning and supplies, you can hunker down and survive through chemical and even biological gas clouds. You can still call the police who might be able to assist you. You and your neighbors might band together to improve your collective security. Think long and hard before you engage in bugging out.

On your way to your pre-determined bug out destination, you need to avoid being ambushed, injured, robbed, or worse. You will not know who is friend or foe, and you must remain as inconspicuous and “normal” as possible.

I think it is unwise to assume you can and will homestead in the forest, hunting and fishing like Daniel Boone until “someone” gives an “all clear” and you can return home. You will not be the only person in the forest, and any food that is available will quickly be hunted or scared away. Your forest will soon be overrun with survivalist who claim hunting territories, and battles will ensue. Gangs will form and if you’re a loner, you will not survive.

Under such conditions, it would be nearly impossible for you to rest or sleep. You’d have to be on your guard 24/7. You couldn’t leave your camp to hunt or fish for fear of coming back to nothing, or a pack of squatters who have taken over your camp and everything you depend upon.

If you knew or sensed that others were in your forest, having a camp fire would be a bad idea because it would give away your location. How would you stay warm, or cook your kill? What if someone off in the distance sees smoke and calls 911 to report a forest fire? What about the winter cold or the summer mosquitos?

What would you do? Remember, you took only your bug out bag which did not have a sleeping bag or multi-season clothing. Sure, you have your big bowie-knife, your .22 rifle, and your length of para cord, but what about those other hundred items you need now that are back home?

Remote Hideaway

If you are one of the fortunate individuals who has some land in a remote location that you have already set up to be your bugged out location, great! The difficult task for you is to know when to bug out and before the crisis or disaster occurs. Timing will be critical. Bugging out after the crisis only increases your chances that you’ll be stuck in gridlock traffic, apprehended, robbed, or again, even worse.

Predicting when and where a disaster or crisis will occur is anyone’s guess. If you guess wrong, then you would have bugged out for nothing, and increased your chances of coming home to a looted and ransacked house.

Abort! Abort!

If you decide to return home, your immediate task would be to navigate your way through or around newly formed gangs and other non-friendlies you might encounter. If you bugged out with your get home bag, it is safe to say that any food you had in your get home bag would have already been eaten a long time ago.

You might arrive home only to find that your house has been looted, and all the food, gear, weapons, and supplies you didn’t take with you when you bugged out are gone. Your windows are broken, your electronics have disappeared, and you quickly discover thieves stole all the copper wires and pipes in your house, along with your refrigerator.

We all know that thieves are not a considerate lot. Since they took your copper pipes and left the water turned on, your house is now flooded, and your water bill is over $1,000. To add insult to injury, every thread of clothing, shoes, tools, and anything of any value that you had is now gone. Was it bugging out or going home that was the wrong decision?

Conclusion

I am unable to convince myself that I, after being so dependent upon grocery stores, utilities on demand, and sound shelter for decades, could just set up camp in the forest for an unknown length of time with only a bug out bag. You know, I am not the MacGyver type.

What do you think is “bugging out” a better plan than “bugging in”?

Image by JB Foster

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About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of TheSurvivalistBlog.net. He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.

Comments

  1. M.D. I agree with you. I think that bugging-out should only be used as a last resort. If you bug-in you have all the support base you need to last much longer. If you need to you can fortify a home base a lot easier than you can fortify a forest camp. You will have all of your food at your home, more ability to store water,and all the stuff to make things a bit more comfortable. If you feel like you might need to bug out just make sure you have a good strong truck that can haul as much of your food storage and necessary items to a remote location. Or better yet just do like you have done and get out of the city now to a more remote location and get things better set up before hand.

  2. You actually have identified the problem of being caught between an immovable object and an unstoppable force. If the SRHTF then you won’t have utilities on demand or even a local grocery store to go to and you will still be on your own to protect what you have in your house. The exact same situation you will face if you bug out. I personally chose to purchase the rural property and get set up on it rather than trying to maintain two places. How well will it work out for any of our choices is yet to be seen. I wish you luck as you prepare.

  3. I would suggest that if at all possible move to your remote location now. The question of bugging in or out becomes redundant if you do.

    We live in relative remoteness and it does take alot of getting used to and adaptation. But better to adapt in 3 or 6 months instead of 3 or 6 days.

  4. I think that your reasons for bugging in are a lot better than your reasons for bugging out. Sure, if one has the money they can go and buy some land up in Vermont or Maine with a cheap house there. But, most people can’t just up and go and live off the grid immediately, especially when you don’t know when the SHTF is going to occur. People have daily bills and responsibilities.

    You have some choices:

    A) Stay where you are and start preparing like hell because you’re going to be bugging in. The only bills you have to worry about are the ones that pertain to your current home and land.

    B)Buy some land with a house (it will prove much more difficult to build one) up in the boondocks like in Maine or Vermont. If you can quit your job now and just up and go remember that you still have to sell your current home in the economic real estate crisis and pay its mortgage until it sells.

    Now if you can afford 2 mortgages because you’re rich enough then go right ahead and start preparing your new house and cultivating the land up in your boondocks location. Or, you can go up to your new home in the boondocks in the weekends to start preparing the land and stocking the house with supplies and then coming home to go back to work and your daily responsibilities down here.

    C)If you do decide to live currently in your home but are planning to relocate to your boondocks home you need to remember that you don’t know when the SHTF is going to happen.

    If you have lots of money then do whatever you want. But if you have a job you need to do some really heavy thinking. When do I quit my job? When is the right time for me to go live in the boondocks? What if I quit my really good job and go live in the boondocks and later find out the SHTF wasn’t as bad as people made it out to be? Now I have all this debt with no job to pay it off. What do I do???

    The last thing you want is to make the wrong decision here, and to have bad timing. These 2 things will set you back big time.

  5. This come down to situational factors and threat assessment. 1) weather or not you have to leave or shelter in place. 2) the context of the threat which will dictate what type of reaction you would want to have. My plan says never leave a safe and stable home. If I can, I will shelter in place and protect what is mine as long as possable. The context of that as it is, would dictate that if I have to leave, it will likely be a dangerous situation with a two way range type of issue that requires I move to a safer and moroe stable place or, in some unique circumstances(no where to run) stand in place and fight. More likely than not, most situations we will encounter(at least as perceived at this point in time) wil require sheltering in place and simply protecting your self from criminal elements or looters. These are my assessments based on my perception and my particular set of circumstances, yours, in your location, may be entirely different.

  6. Unless you’re some sort of über-prepper with the fortified well stocked retreat waiting for you, living standards will almost certainly drop sharply when you leave home. The question is will they be better if you stay? If you lose water, sewer, garbage pick-up, and are in close proximity to violent unrest, are you better off?

    A lot depends as well on where you live. If it is in an apartment in New York city, get the hell out. If it is in a village of 500 people in a rural setting, maybe stay put and work it out together.

    The thing is, there is no single prefect plan. Your primary plan might be to stay put, but a plan B and plan C is always a good thing….

  7. Richard J. Medicus says:

    I have to agree with you. Bugging out will put hardship upon hardship on you and those that trust you to make the correct decisions.

    I follow another website that suggests that bugging out is probably the worst decision that you could make. You’re exposing yourself with no corner to back into. (ferfal.blogspot.com/)

    As hard as it is; developing relationships and building a small resilient community with your neighbors is probably the best option. Again, I refer you to another website. This one focuses on the idea of a small community of people developing the means to not only take of themselves, but market their abilites. (globalguerrillas.typepad.com/)

    In general these two sites suggest that putting your knowledge to entreprenurial use may be your best option. Gunsmithing, metal working, carpentry, sales (yes sales), etc., provide an income to help support your life.

  8. There is no perfect plan.
    Just do the best you can. Doesn’t hurt to plan some sort of action.
    Unless you are Rawles and a few other’s that have had the good fortune to have their plan long ago, you are basically going to have to work on the fly if anything does happen.
    And the worst part of planning is what exactly are the plans for?????
    So as Gunny Highway said, “Improvise, overcome, adapt.” (don’t know if that is the way his character’s name is spelled).

  9. Mental Matt says:

    Man, this is a million dollar question. Take your stuff and hit the road and be a refuge, or hunker down in place. M.D. you have poked the hornets nest. I’m gonna have to say as with some of the other posts, the situation will have to dictate the action. Staying in place with whatever supplies you have is a safe bet, however no matter how many rounds you have or even if you got other’s there to help you, a large enough raiding party will eventualy overrun you. Hell, just throwing a firebomb on your roof and sooner or later you will run out. Imagine a dozen or so people fireing rounds into your house at the same time! It would be almost impossible to return fire without getting hit. Hitting the road could be even worse with roving gangs, and your right the woods would be just as dangerous. I think the safe bet is to already to be living in a rural area not close to a heavy populated city. A definite plus would be to have others who are like minded to be with you when disaster strikes. (safety in numbers). Me I’m a few miles north of Detroit, where I work, my goal is to eventualy get the rural home. In a worst case I know the suburbs would be over run by the hoards looking for goodies. God Bless

    • Dean in Michigan says:

      Matt……

      Howdy neighbor…
      This topic has been on my mind for awhile, and I have decided that Bugging in is the only immediate option. We have to consider that the people of Flint, Saginaw, etc… will be bugging out too. So by the time we go north, it will be occupied. Chicago refugees will cover the west.

      I’m not thrilled about our location either, but it’s what we have and it’s defendable. You’re right, having the rural home is the perfect scenario, as you are already at where others hope to be.

      It’s my wish too, unfortunately we’re runnin’ out of time brother. I think if we can defend and self sustain for 6-8 months without doubt, then we can survive what many won’t, and then maybe it will be safer to travel. And we’ll be traveling lighter at that point
      as many of the preps have been consumed.
      Stay safe ………

      • Patriot Farmer says:

        Dean and Double M is there really any good places in Michigan to “bug out” to? Flint Saginaw, Detroit, and its suburbs will try to move north to escape the cities and run smack into the rural areas where I’m sure people will have already staked out places for themselves. Short of going to the UP, (getting acrosss the bridge should be fun), what left? And if your get to the UP the winters are terrible. I’m all for staying put and making a go where I am.

        • Dean in Michigan says:

          There really is nowhere to go. Even you folks that live further out will be kicking people off your land at some point.

          Plus, I couldn’t turn my back on all that stuff I couldn’t carry.

          Good luck to you all

        • Tomthetinker says:

          Oh my yes somebody poked the hornets nest. I’m down here 40 min so. of detroit. take a pencil compus and draw a scaled circle around your city/town to say 100 miles across. In mich or ohio…. lookee lookee your in another city the size of the one you wanna get out of. ie. I’m in the mid west…. and hunkering IN and making preps accordingly. Thanks again MD……………. reality checks are always in order.

  10. templar knight says:

    Bug in or bug out?

    This is probably the most difficult decision a person has to make, and like everything else, it depends on your circumstances. For instance, if you have no place to go(retreat), then it would probably be better for one to bug in rather than become a refugee. Unless you live right smack in the middle of a major metropolitan area such as Detroit or Chicago or Atlanta. My advice would be to bug out if this were the case.

    But one would have to have a place to bug out to, and this is the problem for many. It wouldn’t make sense to just head for the boonies expecting to “live off the land”. Ain’t gonna happen. You must have a place to go, a sanctuary if you will. I strongly advise everyone to secure a place to go, whether that be a relative or friend, before anything happens. Pre-position some food, weapons and survival supplies now, as you wouldn’t be able to take everything you need, or might not be able to carry all your supplies if something happened to your vehicle.

    I would say that rural areas 50 or so miles from major metro areas would be much safer than living in the city, so I wouldn’t rule those out if they were the best I could do. Working with neighbors to provide security is what we see happening in Egypt right now, and I would expect neighborhoods here in the US to do the same thing.

    In any event, the fact that one is giving thought to these problems places you way ahead of the population-at-large.

  11. Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

    Michael, thank you for raising some important questions and for providing some potential answers. I find the whole dichotomy of bugging in or bugging out to be perplexing. There are so many variables and the very real possibility of changing situations. It’s hard to know what do to until the actual poop hits the machine.

    My BOB is set up for short-term evacuation, as may be necessary in an earthquake, chemical spill, or any other event that necessitates leaving the house. IOW, a situation I anticipate will last only a few days, then I’ll return home and clean up or assess damages and procede from there.

    For any prolonged emergency in which my house remains intact for the most part, I intend to stay put and make it my last stand. Although a rural retreat sounds exciting and appealing, I just can’t envision it being all that secure unless it sits on top of a mountain and the drawbridge across the river is up and the hot oil is in the kettles at the battlement. Even a remote retreat will be discovered someday by someone, and then the secret is out and the trouble begins. How you going to keep smoke from spiraling up from your stovepipe? How you going to keep the guard dogs quiet? How you going to get the supplies you didn’t know you’d need until you lived in the retreat under survival conditions for a couple of months? Try as we might, there is no way humans can be completely self-sufficient for long. This is why we are social animals, even if some of us are less sociable than most. We’d need a community of some sort, even if only rarely.

    To be sure, if I were younger and rich, I’d have a rural retreat and probably live in it fulltime whether or not there was an emergency. But since I am neither young nor rich, I’ll stay home and give it my best shot, so to speak.

    If my house were destroyed and there was a longterm emergency of some sort, then I’d have to bugout. I’d attempt to get to my relatives’ home or to a good friend’s ranch although both locations are a long ways away on foot.

    I honestly don’t anticipate a widespread disaster in which we all have to bugout. Instead, I envision something like nationwide marshall law and our own military called up to keep the people in line, despite the Posse Comitatus Act. I look at Egypt and wonder if that is our fate in a year from now. I pray it is not.

    Well, it’s interesting to contemplate all this stuff and I hope to be prepared adequately if the time comes, but I truly hope it doesn’t. I don’t have any desire to test myself in this area.

    • LP,

      Social Animals we are. Social psychology is a good area for survivalists to explore. It talks about how we relate, think about, and act toward one another. Knowing what tendencies people have shown to follow in stressful situations would be very helpful to a survival group. I’m a student of psychology and have been interested in trying to incorporate the field into my mental preparations. If I get my ideas a little better developed will get back to everyone with it.

      • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

        Simba, please do fill us in on your findings. I’m not a social psychologist by any means, but it seems that group mentality often takes over in a stressful situation. Groups have no conscience and usually the worst of the bunch rises to power. So, yeah, any info you can provide will be useful.

  12. Everyone,

    We should keep in mind that when most people talk of “bugging out” they are meaning to grab a bug out bag and head off to the woods to live and hide.

    They aren’t talking about bugging out to a well-stocked retreat in the country or even to their own land with a travel trailer, bus, shack or RV for shelter which would be a much better situation than living under a tarp in the woods.

    • Okay, that changes the outlook more than somewhat.
      That means you know what the terrible event is and that is the last resort.
      So now I quote “Run Forest Run.” And pray you don’t get a projectile in the “Butt-tocks.”

      • templar knight says:

        LMAO!

        • Tomthetinker says:

          A craps shoot.. it’s all a craps shoot. If your fate lines up with the whims, riots, herd migrations, new best friends and relatives……. you make it. Then what….? I have skills, seeds, tools…. ? yepper I got a plan…. gonna work it.

    • emptynester says:

      Not sure if the book “The Bielski Brothers” has been mentioned here or not but it deals with real life account of many people actually living in the woods to escape the Nazi’s. Not sure of the actual number who were saved by them but it was quite a few. They had dug down into the earth to live and even cook without detection. They did have to relocate several times but it just goes to prove that with determination people can adapt to very rugged living conditions.

  13. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    When I picture bugging out, I’m picturing everything you have is carried on your back after your vehicle runs out of gas or you run out of road to your location. So ANYTHING you have that is permanent shelter already in place would be a Godsend. Even an junked, intact van shell in a hidden area would be preferable to having to camp out the rest of your life. Even then, you will eventually run out of firewood and / or use the resources that are nearby, causing you to go out further and further, until it is no longer practical to have to come back.

  14. NAIL ON THE HEAD! I try to convey this to people and they get lost in this grandious idea of a RAMBO movie. Most people have NO IDEA what it takes to live off the land. I know people who just think they can hunt and grow a garden and all will be well. Problem is, if it hits you that hard, it hits everyone else that hard. Point being everybody will be hunting and growing a graden and the game will disappear. You can only grow so much and store it for so long. In the big picture the bug out plan is just what it says”bug out” leaving the effected are or evading the threat, it is not a life plan it is a quik escape. Once you are OUT THERE you have to feed, clothe, warm and hydrate your self with what ever you have or whatever you can scrounge.

  15. When I liven in LA and worked is south central , I bugged out (aka 3 day vacation) practically at the drop of a hat – for example OJ’s verdict, and the Lakers final championship game.

    Now in slightly more remote parts, still 200,000 pop – but a substantially different group of 200,000 citizens. The only reason I’d hit the road is if the plague (or whatever modern equivalent) was passing around in my town. Economics, natural disaster, shortages, etc. I will stand shoulder to shoulder with my neighbors. Back in LA… no friggin’ chance.

    • Copy that, I had friend that was with LASO during the LA riots! He was sure glad to semi retire and move out here to hte country. Ive been to some very large cities on Business trips and such, and I could even imagine living in one of those places. I live in the stix and hv to sleep with a radio and a fan on. The slightest sound wakes me up, in an urban area, I would loose my mind just from the sleep deprevation. I like city life short and fast in very small doses.

  16. Here’s my $0.02:

    If you leave home in a crisis, regardless of the reason, you are a refugee. Period.

    Bugging out is a failing proposition.

    Preparing for the possibility of becoming a refugee is a bit more realistic. That means you can expect to have all of your possessions seized, you family divided and your safety threatened by opportunists.

    If there’s anyone who frequents this blog with first hand experience as a refugee or as an aid worker, please comment.

    • It’s not a pretty site. I have lived and worked in the 3rd world and refugee camps are bad at best. Worse than being out in the elements. I lived 1 mile from the larges slum in Africa and it a dog eat dog to the max situation. Trying to civilize a mass of displaced people is a place where many horrible things happen without any recourse. Run away. Run far and hard before you give in to the temptation that any refugee camp is better than the freedom you have outside the control of overwhelmed, understaffed, under prepared AID workers. (And UN rhetoric)

    • Tomthetinker says:

      I lived in Burbank Calif. riots of 65… just a kid. didn’t leave the block. My p.a.l./ PD. softball coach barrowing my barber’s lever action cause the city was ‘out’ of weapons. Two weeks of fun and games. Refugees…….. so. vietnam in 1968. back to LA for the earthquake of 1970. ya wanna live in a city like LA with no…… clean water and no beer at the carry out? Move to Ohio… police and fire dept. strike of 1978 +/- 9 days of burn it down and don’t worry. moved back to LA in 1980, Balboa earthquake. my apartment building dropped on it’s ‘stilts and my offramp on the I-14 dropped onto Havenhurst ave. No clean water, no police, nothing at the safeway on balboa blvd. and no…. beer at the carry out and no ammo at the Big Five sporting goods store next to the safeway. Am I cursed or somthin…..? Got out of LA in time to miss the OJ/roddney King thing.. I’ve tried everyplace but New England. Kinda thinking there are around 30+ million folks south and west of there that would like to get there in the crunch. You’ve read it here twice already… gotta plan gonna work it. Man o man I’ve watched a small mob fist it out at the back of a Peppridge Farms bread truck at the Foodtown at Heatherdowns and Reynolds road after two weeks of 77/78 blizzard. hitting the road with a can of beans and High hopes makes one a refugee and unwelcome. Do I really see this…. happening? I donno… what are they thinking in Cairo, northern mexico, southern Texas, Ireland, Kosovo, LA every time the earth moves or it rains to much. Or maybe in Toledo Ohio in the morning if it snows like they say it will tonight??? I gotta plan and preps made… and room for two extra as a result…. I will be the good guy until… what? till then I’m cooken out on the weekends and I know there is beer in my fridg………..

      • shotzeedog says:

        We left San Fernando Valley for Central Valley (40 miles from Yosemite) in 1985 and left California for good in 2005. Now when people find out that we were from California they ask why we would ever leave there. We tell them they would have to have lived there to understand. We don’t ever plan on moving back.

  17. Addition thoughts: 1. Know where dumpsters are that get filled with university students moving out, apartment dwellers tossing out or moving out, in addition to goodwill stores
    2. Know how to shower. Any chemistry lab at a high school, community college, or university has an emergency shower and an emergency eyewash. Some office buildings have top floor restrooms that include a shower for workers who like to jog at lunch. Map before you need it. Challenge yourself to use a public restroom to fill a container then retreat to a restroom stall to clean up and dispose of your gray water into a container or down the toilet.
    3. Know where the apartment or other parking lots are where you can sleep in your vehicle overnight, or where you can park, take you tent, then walk to camp out without detection. Remember the great story of the fella in England who saw a parking lot under construction. He built a rough toll booth, collected parking fees for 25 years, undetected, then retired on the proceeds. The city fathers were outfoxed. The public parking lot was a free parking lot.

    • Most locations with emergency showers and emergency eyewash stations are alarmed – if the water flows an alarm sounds in central security so they know they have a serious incident to deal with on an emergency basis. Security will come running and may call out EMTs on their way. Do you really want pics of yourself handcuffed in you birthday suit in your police record?

    • The brainwashing wore off... says:

      Good idea about the dumpsters near college dorms. College students are so wasteful, and their trash can be someone’s treasure.

    • Just be really careful getting stuff from college dorms. A lot of them are infested with bed bugs right now and you sure don’t want to bring home any uninvited guests with you.

  18. ChrisInGa says:

    You can go back and forth over the millions of possible scenarios and when it would or would not be a good idea to bug out. The way I came to my conclusions is based on history.

    When in history has bugging out been a good idea. Answer: When large scale persecution is the norm. be that Nazi Germany’s persecution of the Jews or Islamic persecution of just about everything non-muslum, or the catholic church’s persecution of anglicans. In almost every case bug out requires the ability to flee the nation or continent. It is insufficient to bug out to some other location near by.

    Another case where bugging out has been the norm is really what I call evacuation. Such as that experienced in new Orleans before Katrina or Washington before Mount St Helens. Floods and Wild fires are other examples. But in these cases I doubt you’d run for the hills as much as a nearby town or family somewhere else in the region.

    Now war represents the most likely cause of displacement within your region. So what you’ll do and how you’ll do it will be based on what type of war it is you face.

    Humanity has suffered through plagues, depressions, social and political upheaval in the past. Heck we have some examples right now in Egypt. Look to history as a guide for what might happen and what your best course of action should be. In many cases you’re right. Staying at home is probably you’re best bet. In other cases you probably ought to bug out to another country if your going to truly bug out.

    Of course the world is more interconnected today then it has been in the past. I suppose there is an off chance an economic melt down could take on a much more global nature today then in the past. or be much more disastrous in its speed. So while history can be a guide. Don’t assume that things will always unfold the same as they have in the past.

    • “When large scale persecution is the norm. be that Nazi Germany’s persecution of the Jews or Islamic persecution of just about everything non-muslum, or the catholic church’s persecution of anglicans.”

      2 out of 3 isn’t bad! It was the Church of England (Anglican) that, except for the brief reign of Bloody Mary, persecuted Catholics. They also persecuted fellow Protestants with whom they had disagreements.

      God bless,
      Bonnie
      Opportunity Farm

  19. Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

    Well, dang it, if bugging out means becoming a refugee or an Eric Rudolph type person, then I’d better pack a body bag instead of a tarp ’cause I’m a dead man.

  20. OhioPrepper says:

    I’ve always had a different definition of a BOB (Bug out Bag) vs. a GOOD (Get out of Dodge Bag). The former is the one I grab when the local emergency authorities knock on the door and tell me I need to leave due to a toxic gas cloud, etc. While the later is the one I use to head to a BOL (Bug out Location) which is more in line with the content of the article. Doncha just love acronyms 🙂 In the GOOD situation, I suspect you really don’t care about your bills piling up or paying your mortgage, because if society has collapsed to such an extent that you take this drastic action, the chances of returning home are IMO pretty slim.
    We have opted to SIP (Shelter in Place aka Bug In) but are a BOL for some trusted others. They will bring whatever they can, and we will get by. The house and property are large enough to accommodate quite a few additional people in a post SHF situation, and having a group of hard working and trusted folks on hand can make all the difference in getting by, or living. On the food front, we’re still preparing (seems there’s never enough stored) and those who bug out may be eating a lot of beans and rice, but there will be animals and the garden, and when they become the fulltime job, you’ll find they can be expanded in size and produce more than you might think. In any case, things will not be as pleasant or easy as we all have it now, but proper planning and mindset will make it not only bearable, but even comfortable. There’s a saying in the martial arts that states, “Train hard; Fight easy”, which can translate to plan and prepare hard, and things will turn out OK.
    For the suburban dwellers, you might think of a plan that includes bringing desperate neighbors into the fold, post SHF. If you’ve read or plan to read “Lights Out”, it presents a pretty good scenario and example of how suburban folks, some prepared and some not so prepared can join together and survive. It’s well worth the read. Another good read about a trucker using his GHB and caches is Cold Camp. A Google search for “cold camp pdf” will get you the link. It’s another pretty good read, and it’s free to download.

  21. GoneWithTheWind says:

    Here is a test of your bug out plan. Find a big city with a dangerous area/population, like detroit for example. Go ahead and grab your backpack and get your wife and kids with their backpacks and drive on up to the outskirts of the city on Friday night starting at about 7pm or so. Then walk through the city making sure you stay within the worst part of the city until the sun comes up. Report back to us how that went…

    • Patriot Farmer says:

      Nope. Been to Detroit at night.

    • Christine says:

      I grew up in Detroit and it is my opinion that the family that tried that would not get through with any of their stuff, if they got through at all. They might stand a chance if it is a very large family, like at least 15-20 people. Even then, they better not LOOK like they are carrying anything of value, unless it’s guns.

      • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

        Have you ever watched an episode of that TV show with the pawn shop in Detroit? I think the show is called “Hardcore Pawn.” Anyhow, the people that go to pawn stuff at that shop are crazy – flatout crazy. They are always fighting and screaming and calling the owners of the shop names like racist and honkey. I don’t know how any sane person could live in that city. I live in CA – guess this state isn’t as bad as some places afterall. LOL Detroit is just crazy, it’s like a city in a 3rd world country.

  22. For many decades, my survival plans centered around bugging out. Because my career kept me in the city, my plan was to bug out to my wooded acres in the hills some 75 miles away. I stockpiled necessities there and had a well drilled. It was a nice idea. But, when I look back at my plans, I cringe at the thought that, had I needed to use this plan in a major SHTF circumstance, I probably would not have made it.

    Indeed, knowing when to impliment this plan would have been the most important part of it. I think I probably would not have made the move until it was too late. I think most people would probably make the same mistake.

    It became my goal to move out of the city once I retired to a place where bugging out would be essentially unnecessary. Fortunately, I made it out and any bugging out I would do now would be a 5 miles trip to my sister’s and brother-in-law’s.

    In my opinion, only those who live in densely populated areas and cities should center their plans around bugging out. Those in the suburbs and especially in rural areas are better off staying put.

  23. One only needs to read “One Second After” to know that leaving your home is the last thing you should do. All those refugees on the road – headed out of the city & to the small towns – only to be turned away at gun point. I could definitely see that happening.

    Heck, if the SHTF I’m sure our neighborhood will ban together & set up a barricade at all the vulnerable spots. We’ve got 10 stocked ponds, a river & lots of armed folks to handle a large crowd until things get back to normal (I just hope they won’t expect me to provide them food – no one knows we’ve got it stored & I don’t plan on telling them).

  24. Got my bug out bag and no place to go. I have a severly disabled 24 year old daughter sitting next to me in a wheel chair, and Im 58 years old . I guess Ill pray some more. God bless

    • God Bless you and your daughter also Terri.

      We are here for the duration that is for sure. No bugging out for us. We have the materials to fortify this place if we have to, and a few good neighbors to help protect the street. I hope we never have to find out the answer to this question.
      I am a bit worried about this Anchor Baby thing. If they cancel that there are a lot of militant college kids out here wanting to make this into Mexifornia.

    • Tomthetinker says:

      Terri Darlin… In the event of… what ever comes to mind, the wife and I have room for two more, and you and yours are welcome.

      • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

        Tom, that’s a very generous offer. You and your wife are good people. I pray Terri and her daughter never need to take you up on your generous offer. God bless you all.

  25. Most excellent post!

  26. Bugging out is not an option up for dispute. It’s just an means to get away from wherever you are, because you must. A person or group, only bugs out, because the threats approaching their current location neccesitate them doing so. The idea of being prepared to bug out, is so you have that option.

  27. Bugging in or Bugging out?
    Like everything in life its situational. Bugging in would be your best bet. I live in the city and won’t be able to move to the “country” for some time. So, I’m going to have to bug in within an apartment complex.
    Its important to remember to never give up. I will use the advantages of living in an apartment complex such as: gates, elevation, and any gangs wanting to come into the complex will be forced into narrow roads between buildings. The elevation and narrow space puts a group of apartment dwellers at a nice advantage. If it would be possible to “hold down the fort” for a while, bugging out might become an option. I hope the S doesn’t HTF until I can make it to the country.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Every riot scene I’ve ever watched play out has always included fires. An apartment building may have some advantages, but they are very vulnerable to fires. Have you got the firefighting equipment to put out a small fire before it becomes a major one? Seriously, now is the time to locate the fire extinguishers, the fire hoses, the nearest hydrant, and keep a fireman’s axe on hand.

      • I agree, fire is a threat to every bug out or bug in location. Its way easier than busting in every door, however, any resources for the gangs or thieves get burned at the same time.

        • OhioPrepper says:

          What you need is a clear space without major cover for a few hundred feet in every direction of your retreat. Additionally, any major landmarks or concealment areas need to have been measured so you know the distance. Assuming fire comes in the form of a Molotov cocktail thrown by hand, even a hundred feet makes it hard to start a fire. This of course means enough personnel to observe and potentially control all directions in multiple shifts if needed.

          • I think only rioters would start fires. Gangs are going around looking for resources and burning your place down would not benefit them in any way. If they are just looking to kill you then it will work great. If you put up a fight they will most likely use that method, therefore you should eradicate them as quickly as possible….. you guys are really making me want to move to the country pronto! ha ha

  28. The brainwashing wore off... says:

    Good comments all.

    I agree with GA Mom, staying home is your best bet. Unless you are fortunate enough to get out early and ahead of the hordes, the chances of your making it to your destination are slight. I evacuated in the mid ’90’s because of a hurricane. It was horrible. I was fortunate and was able to make it inland with minimal delay only because I got out early and took state roads (a rather circuitous route), rather than heading towards the interstate. My husband joined our family later, after spending 9 hrs on the highway; normally the trip would’ve taken 2 hrs tops.

    My hometown is on an island off the coast of SC. Not a huge river to cross, but a river nonetheless. I would rather shelter in place, and take my chances in my home. If the bridges were destroyed, I may not be able to get out, but others could not easily come in either, unless boats were running. My dream has always been to own a mountain home in western NC, but after reading “One Second After”, I’m not so sure that is a better plan either!

  29. So my wife and I live in a suburban community and not to far from shopping and other key looting targets. I like the idea of getting the neighbors together and setting up defenses but I see a problem and was looking for any advice. I can tell you that most of the people in the neighborhood most likely have not done any prepping. I’ve got about a 6 months to a year of food supply for two. Do I keep this information from the neighbors and hope that no one finds out or share and deplete my food storage in a month or less. Strategically there could be a benefit to a secure neighborhood but what happens when they get hungry? Were talking about 20 to 30 adults in a one block radius or do I focus on just the people living next to us which would be 7 of us?

    • OhioPrepper says:

      OPSEC says you keep it to yourself and only share the information with those you implicitly trust. That could be immediate neighbors, a larger group of folks, or no one. Everyone’s situation is different. That being said, bulk rice and beans are cheap, so it might pay to have some (or a lot) of these on hand perhaps with some sugar and instant coffee, along with some printed sheets on basic preparation. You will have to be careful, but a little charity might go a long way. Also, due to OPSEC, there may be others around who have stores you don’t know about. In my rural area, even the folks who aren’t considered preppers could probably survive a few months on food stores they have on hand, because it’s a long trip to a decent grocery, and most have been snowed in for at least a few days at some time in the past.
      I’d also recommend reading Lights Out, which has been mentioned here more than a few times. The protagonist, known as ‘Karate Man’ helps organize his suburban subdivision, and although it’s fictional, it may give you some good insight and some ideas to start with.

      • Tomthetinker says:

        Ohio… yepper rice and beans. 1000lbs of rice will cost you $420.oo today at Gordon’s foods. The beans around twice that as I didn’t ask em when I called just now. Then again at Ohio Feed’s up pm Monroe st. , Dent corn is $5.00 for a fifty lb. sack. Boring food is cheap around here but can be had quickly if one plans…..

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      My advice, for what it’s worth, don’t tell your neighbors about your stores. Instead, casually bring up the headlines: rioting is spreading around the world, food prices are inflating, civil unrest here and abroad (look at the angry “protesters” that were brought into CA from Chicago to disrupt the Tea Party people in So. California this past weekend), possible gasoline rationing if the Middle East gets crazier.

      Don’t mention survival or preparations, just talk pop culture and current events – maybe your neighbors will get the idea that stocking extra food is a good idea. Or make a joke out of stockpiling toilet paper just in case the SHTF.

      My neighbors are all anti-gun people, so I’m sure I’ll be on my own. And that’s not good odds.

      • Lint Picker – I agree with you about not telling your neighbors about your survival stash. I have gotten to know all of my neighbors and, fortunately, they’re all good people, but they don’t know what I have. I’ve made it a point to determine where my neighbors stand on various issues without making it look as if I’m nosey. All of what I have learned about them is from “normal” friendly conversations.

        I’ve learned which neighbors have guns and who carries, for example. I’ve even made a trip to the local gun shop with one of them and have had great conversations about firearms. I already know where he stands if the SHTF without letting him know how well prepared I am. Through him I know who else nearby would make a good defensive group. Even if there were a SHTF event, just a few would know only a portion of my level of preparedness.

      • OhioPrepper says:

        “Instead, casually bring up the headlines”. Perhaps at that point you could even act a little panicky, asking the neighbors what they think you should do. Give them the opening to approach and counsel you. Very non-threatening and perhaps more revealing. You may have a neighbor who for OPSEC reasons doesn’t talk about their preps, but may give you sound advice on food storage, etc., which would be a great lead in for a later conversation.

  30. Matt in Oklahoma says:

    Bugging Out is used only when everything else has failed or the place has become uninhabitable. Some of these things that would cause me to bugout are chemical spills, fire,complete breakdown and an inability to defend, flooding, certain nuclear threat. Relocation is a duanting task and even when I was in the Military the “ultimate bugout specialists” it was a hardship logistcally, in terms of manpower, rest and supplies. It takes alot of thought, energy and planning to accomplish a full bugout.
    Great Post

  31. I guess most of us have had this experience: you’ve travelled far away from home, on business or vacation, and out of nowhere appears an unexpected familiar face. There’s a mutual recognition, and most likely words are exchanged. Probably you both smile. The episode brings with it a sort of intangible security, and it’s likely a coincidence that’s not forgotten.

    In the aftermath of a major calamity, I personally want to be in a location where I’m more likely to encounter folks that I recognize, no matter how wide their eyes happen to be at the time. It’s my opinion that one’s demise would be met at the hands of desperate strangers well before one faces starvation. Far be it from me to say “do this” or “do that”, but if your bug-out destination – AND the route to get there – is full of unfamiliar faces, I suggest your chances for survival are way less than being around people you’re used to seeing regularly.

    If cities go off-grid, “remote” will not be remote for long, in virtually all the lower 48. Staying around more people that you recognize will, if nothing else, reduce what for many is bound to be debilitating fear. I’m betting that, even in dire circumstances, less harm can be expected from someone who even vaguely recognizes you, regardless of your prior relationship. Or, be more likely to help you when needed.

    Heck, it’s all a guessing game how any individual will react to grave danger. My point is that if and when everyone around you is in shock, your odds for staying in one piece are liable to be better amongst familiar faces.

    I’m blessed to own a secluded camp and buried caches in the deep Allagash, 500 miles north of here, but it’s strictly a last resort… if TSHTF, assuming we can still breath the air, I’ll stay busy helping “familiar faces” here at home until such time that enough death or fear forces me and whoever’s left in my band to pack the Mossbergs and retreat in my heavily armored F550 with its 275 gallons diesel in the bed. If that time ever comes, God forbid, we surely won’t be the only ones up there in the north woods… and can only hope to recognize a few familiar faces…

    Just my two cents… I wish every one of you comfort and safety if society as we know it collapses. Uphold our Constitution at any cost.

  32. Tomthetinker says:

    Well Crappolla M.D., Mikey got us all worked up over this one. At 36 replies it’s about 45% bug out, 45% bug in and 10% wait and see. Alot of the ‘bug outs’ don’t give the impression of having a location in mind. some of those that seem to…. are we talking about an ‘uprepared relocation’?
    All the same…… nice topic. Thought provoking it is. Can any of us understand the plans others make… if we too were not in on the planning. Not likely, so judge yee not folks. Got a plan… gonna work it.

  33. bugging out is not an option for me. i live in a small town(pop.700) and the nearest “big town” is 40 miles away. the only thing that can happen here that would be a good cause for bugging out would be if the SAC base 30 miles to my east got hit with a nuke. by the time we heard about it though,it would be to late. i have several acres and its all fenced and i just built a huge iron gate for my drive. i have neighbors that would be very handy to be around when/if ,tshtf. one is a sheriffs deputy and the others are a young couple that just got out of the marine corp.my next door neighbor is a 75 year old lady with a mentally handicapped son and i would not be able to live with my self if i didnt stay and help and defend her and her son. so,,,,,, ive given it alot of thought ,and there is just no way im bugging out. that decision has helped me to make much better preperations to defend my family, freinds,food,and neighbors though.this was a great topic and everyone should give this some real thought.

    • The brainwashing wore off... says:

      bctruck,

      Your neighbors are blessed to have neighbors like you. Wish I could say the same.

  34. Unless it’s a wildfire or a flood, the entire concept of “bugging out” really gets to me.
    Aren’t our homes and communities worth fighting and dying for? Or are our “homes” just houses and our “communities” just people? Where’s the loyally and love?
    I mean after all…..what would have happened if everybody in Boston decided to “bug out” after Lexington and Concord or at the Alamo?

  35. GWTW- exactly what to try as a test of the mettle of one’s ideas.
    As for me, heading for the boonies is what the Get Outta Dodge bag is for. But that plan only gets implemented when all else fails. Stay home and have all the comforts I can manage until I’m driven out or killed.
    Got the garden, got the main B’s covered, got firewood and a stove. What more do I need?
    Grabbing a pack and leaving all that is about as foolish a thing as I’d ever do, and I’ve done some mighty foolish things.
    Shy III

  36. Mental Matt says:

    Hey Dean, thanx for the suppport good luck and God Bless.

  37. Patriot Farmer says:

    Bugging out for me is not an option. I have family members that have disabilities that would prevent them from making it on foot or being able to carry any suppies for themselves. My plan is to protect what I have for as long as I can and let the chips fall as they may. (But they’re going to need alot of chips.)

  38. Bug out, if and only if you can’t stay home and remain alive. I.E. Poison gas, biological, nuke, flood, etc. It might even be temporary – some folks have moved back to New Orleans by now.

    If you think that you can just go camp out in the woods, consider this: It’s going to be cold tonight. The high temperature tomorrow will be -3 F. You can’t just go camp out in weather like that, especially if it is your first time. The “wilderness” (of which there is little left) is going to fill up pretty fast if you live near a city of a million people, and the trees aren’t going to last long – ten thousand cooking fires take a lot of fuel. Google up “duncan long backpack fever” for a better summary of the drawbacks of bugging out to your isolated homestead.

    If you have somewhere else to go, like a hunting cabin, or a vacation home, or even a single-wide trailer on an acreage with no plumbing, electricity, or heat, you have some options, but you still need to worry about burglars even in normal times. So secure storage is important too.

    Short of a camouflaged secret bunker or missile silo with armed guards, everything is vulnerable to a determined attack.

    The best retreat is your house, and your best survival group is a bunch of good neighbors. So among your other survival skills should be making friends, keeping friends, and swapping favors with the people who live close to you.

    • You said it well that the best retreat is your house with neighbors as a survival group.

      • Read the article. Good one, and I’d agree with all of it. Now to convince the wife to move back to the small town ;o)

        Hate the City, anyway.

  39. I think I would prefer to stay here in my home (which is sort of out in the boonies anyway) and do whatever it takes to defend it. Perhaps I am more of a fatalist than a survivalist. I believe in God, and I believe that if it is my day to die, then it’s my day. I would rather go out fighting than running. That’s just my opinion. Others who believe likewise, I sincerely wish them all the best. We live in a small travel trailer here on 16 acres. My mom lives nearby, as do my three sisters and their husbands. We are prepared to give our lives for what we believe in.

    • Mountain lady says:

      Brenda, I concur with your mindset. I came here for Y2K, and now too old to move, and so here I stay. I do wish I had built a little higher into the hills, in the woods, as it were, but I did not. I am not even a tankful from Sacramento. Hopefully the hoardes will go in a different direction, as this is, or was, the poorest county in the state. All in all, I am in God’s hands. I have food for a couple years, unless I give a lot of it away. I would hope if we do have a revolution, like Egypt, that it would be peaceful, but I know, they do not have guns and we do. I wish all of us the best in a bad situation.

      • We’re pretty close to Portland, Ore. (about 40 miles south), so that’s where our hoardes will come from. I was born on this property, and if necessary I will die here too. That probably sounds like I’m giving up, but I think you understand. I like the idea of having the land that I know around me. I feel like I have the advantage.
        May God be with you! With all of us, really, as we take this journey together into the unknown.

  40. gary in bama says:

    in a sudden collapes im staying home i do live near a large city. i have a spring for water a solid house a stocked pantry and bulk supplies like everyone here .I have plenty of guns and ammo so im going to trust the goverments estimate. i have a storm celler that is well hidden that i will live in im going to hide and lay low .the goverments est.is that with no services that 30 to 40 pct. of the population will be near dead or dead within 6 months with say an emp event at the 9 to 12 month the pop. will be down 80 to 85 percent so with supplies i have im good to be a chicken rambo find your hiddy hole stay putand alive till the die off is over .make your home look looted as long as your somewhere they cant find you who cares.no house will go unsearched dont get killed defending a building have a cache in the yard and a place to hide. a man with a pack is a man with a target on his back. hide live and tell as many lies as you want later:}

    • Yeah, If I was going to carry a pack, I’d make sure that there was nothing in it that anyone could actually use. Carrying a pack full of supplies just makes you a target for people who are desperate.

  41. ChrisInGa and FerFAL have it right IMO, if the SHTF situation is more than regional the best alternative historically is to bug out to another country. Of course this would require some forethought and pre-arrangements as you will not be taking a lot of gear, just grab your gold, wire the money and go.

    For a more local/regional SHTF, the main downside I see to bugging in is that defending a fixed position is a losing proposition. That means defending the neighborhood and not your house. I can see people pulling together to do just that….but then the main question is what if you have food and water and your neighbors don’t?

  42. The only way I would “bug out” is if we were evacuated – hopefully a short term thing. Canada’s not exactly the sort of place you want to be a homeless refugee with small children. Unless/until we have a place where we can permanently relocate, the safest place for us is on our apartment.

    • Mt main concern is getting back home. I work about 60 miles from home and when shtf I want to get back home with my wife. I do not plan on bugging out unless we really have too. Steve

  43. Jim Murphy says:

    Great thought provoking post Michael.
    I think of my house as the Alamo. I will defend it with my life.
    But what if a natural gas explosion destroys it completely. Or any
    catastrophic event. If we survive the initial event, we have to be willing to accept the fact that we may have to make it completely on our own.
    I’m no Rambo, either. I can hunt and fish. I can build a crude shelter of some sort. Could we really make it? I pray we never have to find out.

  44. MOPrepper says:

    All in all, not bad, however there seems to be a mixture of apples and oranges in there.

    If one finds that the SHTF is in full force, then very doubtful that thieves will be stealing copper pipes, because they don’t have any value if the recyclers are no longer operating (and doubtful that they’ll be sitting at their desks waiting for people to bring in materials) and also there wouldn’t be any utility bills, as there probably wouldn’t be any public utilities still in operation.

    Of course, I wouldn’t want to discount the other great information in the article by nitpicking on what may/or may not become the new reality, I just wanted to point out that if TSHTF then the things that one might be worried about during normal times, won’t be worries at all.

    • Gotta remind them pesky looters if they want some metal we have plenty of lead to give them. Steve

  45. I have a pretty big old farmhouse and my three kids and their families all live within half an hour as well as my mother-in-law, so I was relieved to hear people choosing to bug-in”. I guess my next plan would be to make sure I have bedding and food and toilet paper to support 11 people rather than the two of us. Thanks for a great article.

    • Concentrate on the toilet paper. I have a feeling none of us will have enough. Glad you can count on your family to unite.

  46. Pretty much every single point leads one to the eventual conclusion that it would be better to try to “shelter in place” rather than to actually bug out. I think the vast majority of the “average” survivalists cannot afford a fully-equiped, remote, isolated retreat.
    So what is the answer? Maybe to invest in home security, invest in your community. People talk about buggingout, but not so much about URBAN SURVIVAL. To locate a defensible position in an urban area , fortify and stock it.

  47. I now live in a suburb of Tampa Bay with my two teenage sons. We have BOB’s as a last resort, in case we are being burned out of our house or something. Our plan A is to stay put. I don’t know most of my neighbors, and the ones I do know are unprepared and don’t believe anything bad will ever happen. They are nice enough people, but I cannot afford to feed them, especially since my unprepared parents and sister live nearby. Obviously, I would take in my own family first. Staying home would be better, even though when the A/C goes out, houses will be hot and humid and overrun with cockroaches. That is why i also stock bug poison, mosquito repellent, and netting. The weakest spot in my plan is that my house is not very defensible. I wish I could afford some hurricane-proof security windows. My neighbors don’t know I prep, but they will probably figure it out.
    In case we do have to “run for woods”, I am learning as much as I can about local edible plants. There is food everywhere if one can recognize it. The beach has fish, birds, and seaweed, but no fresh water. Inland, there are alligators (good eating but tricky to catch, and currently illegal) and kudzu,bamboo, and a lot of other edible plants. I think fresh water locations will get crowded. And what a miserable way to live, in the swamp with mosquitoes, gators, and rain. I have no specific place to run to. And no community of LMI. I’m probably screwed either way, but i keep trying, keep prepping, and keep working on the weak parts of my plan. Never give up.

    • I am in Florida too and I think staying put is the thing to do. since going inland puts you in the swamps. I am also learning edible plants in the area. Definitely look into solar distillation of water so you can use the salt water, and have a couple of barrels available to catch rain. I think we are at an advantage living in Florida because there is always something edible around.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      I don’t know what those hurricane windows are like, but have you considered an alternative to them? How about some sheets of plywood and some 3″ phillips screws and a power driver plus some manual screwdrivers? Put the plywood up on the vulnerable windows in case of rioting. Just be darn sure you leave yourselves a way out of the house should you have to evacuate in a hurry. You never want to be a victim of your own security system. “Never give up” is right.

      • Christine says:

        Plywood is what I have now in case of a hurricane, it is what most people have around here. Fine for a hurricane, not so much for zombie looters. Security windows would be great because you can’t just take them off with a screwdriver on the outside, plus they are fire resistant and impact resistant, plus you can see through them and keep an eye on what’s going on outside, and also you can open them a lot or a little and get some sort of breeze through your house. Plus you wouldn’t be sitting around in the dark. Unfortunately they are very expensive.
        If society fell apart today, I guess I would put my plywood up and cut rifle slots/peepholes into them.

  48. Tomthetinker says:

    And now it’s 75 posts and bugging in, shelter in place, sittin tight seems to have won out.

  49. Jim G – I think you are right that the conclusion is to shelter in place. I have surveyed my area and know where to establish a defensive perimeter with the help of neighbors. Living on higher terrain is a major plus for us.

    This seems to be what has happened in many neighborhoods in Egypt with their civil disruption. Watching what goes on there may give some insights into what might be feasible here. I’m sure those neighborhoods in Egypt that have a successful defense were those that had greater collective “community investment” before their SHTF.

  50. My plans are to get the hell away from Denton’s Fema camps. Once I leave I am not coming back. We are looking at camper trailers that sleep five. At our bug out location we have a pop up camper that sleeps 6 and has a small kitchen. I want something that keeps the cold air out and are looking at 21 to 30 foot camper with bath. We are also looking at solar panels, water filteration system, and seeds. Since my dad owns 24 acreas and we subdividing 5 acreas by next month that will be my and my spouses. We are trying to make sure we have at least a years worth of food on hand and enough ammno for the coyotes and snakes. While my dad has a house on his land I want to remain independent of him. We are working on getting livestock, we already have the wood stove, and we already have silver. I am meeting more people starting to prep irl. Its comforting to know god is warning them. And more people I talk to are starting gardens.

  51. Good article by a good guest writer. I think one context to look at this situation would be New Orleans/Katrina. Many there did not want to or felt it would be more difficult if they did leave. Thus they stayed. I’m not sure if staying was the right idea then. I think a good way to look at “bugging out” is to compare the siutation to contemporary disasters: hurricanes, etc. Is it better to leave or stay? I suggest thinking whether you can “ride out” (pardon the pun) the storm for a few days or weeks or not. Look at the current unrest in Egypt. If you were in Cairo, would it be worth it to stay or leave? Take a look at the earthquake in Hati. Would it have been better to stay in Port-Au-Prince or leave? You have to make that call. It’s true that food, water, and comfort is better than heading out, but if the circumstances call for it, be prepared to leave and be prepared to do what refugees do: do a lot of waiting, and keep your fingers crossed at the refugee camps/shelters/etc. I think in the end, you do what you to do to survive, and the first thing you ditch is your pride.

  52. I’ll be staying put thank you very much. Leaving the city was the best thing I ever did. People who plan to leave cities once things get bad enough may be in for a surprise. I urge everyone to please go rural now, ASAP. Even without any sort of crisis event, the lifestyle is so much more rewarding than urban life.

    • templar knight says:

      I never lived in a city, muddome, so it was no problem for me to move from the plains of West Texas to the mountains of No. Arkansas. But many city folks I’ve met struggle with the rural lifestyle, always wanting something to do, as if sitting in my swing on the back porch drinking coffee and watching the sun go down isn’t enough.

      And since I’ve never lived in a city, or anyplace, for that matter, that had over 3,000 people, I don’t know how city folk feel, but many I’ve met are not happy in a rural setting. Maybe a city dweller would chime in here and tell us their thoughts on this subject. It would be enlightening for me.

      • OhioPrepper says:

        templar knight,
        One of the things that makes me chuckle and then shake my head is city folk who buy their 5 acres of farmland, plant a house, plant some trees, and then plant the rest in grass. You see them now & then in the summer mowing & mowing & mowing. I just don’t understand it either.

        • but,but,but,,,,, i love to mow my 5 acres. i love the sun on me and its the only time a fat man can get away with sun bathing is while he is on the mower.

          • OhioPrepper says:

            LOL! Fair enough, just so I don’t hear any complaints about how we used to see deer around here and now they’re all gone. D*mn hunters!!!

      • where in the plains of west tex?

        • templar knight says:

          Near Snyder, Tx.

          • Oh yes. I’m very familiar with that area. I used to haul Sheetrock out of sweetwater and lived in Odessa for a year while I opened a truck terminal and hired drivers to hau l from a plant called rexene. It’s a hunstman plan now. The closest I’ve ever came to passing out from heat was while tarping a load of Sheetrock in sweetwater. That part if Texas knows some.

            • templar knight says:

              Sweetwater. Yep, I’ve been to the Rattlesnake Roundup many times, and the water ain’t that sweet if you asked me. My daddy was born and raised in Kerrville, my mother is from a little town in Arkansas, and I grew up on a little cattle ranch near Snyder. I can’t imagine a better life for a youngster than growing up where and how I did, but some would say I wasn’t introduced to civilization till I went to Dallas to visit every summer. I hated it.

              Good luck to you, Bctruck, and thanks for what you do. You truckers get the job done.

          • It’s nice to see some West Texas comments, my family has a ranch in Rotan TX, and I grew up in Hereford. Driven through Snyder many times.

            • templar knight says:

              Best people I ever met anywhere I’ve ever been are the Texicans who inhabit the plains of West Texas. Friendliest, most helpful, gracious and charitable bunch that ever was, at least in my opinion.

  53. Rev.Chance says:

    All I have read about congested traffic/ choke points, everyone heading to the woods to hunt for food, gangs of thieves or worse, we have focused more on bugging in. While we do have bug out bags, op-sec would be much easier to retain in our neighborhood. Since we already are suspicious of unfamiliar vehicles traveling down our dead end culdesac, most of our neighbors really watch out for others and do not hesitate to contact one another. Also, defending familiar area would seem to be easier. Creating a roadblock and perimeter is a part of our plan. I’m not talking about dropping the water tower across the road with binary charges, but an atmosphere that appears from the outside to be chaotic (burning tires or parked vehicles in the road without wheels) is less inviting to would be looters. They might think we have nothing left. We do have extensive woods with wildlife and a secondary water source which is why a perimeter has been decided on.
    One room will be an infirmary which is not possible should we choose to bugout. And we could not possibly take all of our supplies with us.
    Take good care and keep prepping!

    • Rev.Chance
      Reads like you and your neighbors are really well prepared. Good going!

      Wife & I are former urbanites who got a 5-acre farm. Yes we mow grass, but I don’t mind it as it winds up as mulch for the garden. It’s only about a 3-hour per week chore at high grass time. We also have free roaming chickens and thereby wonderful eggs.

      What I have discovered though is that one acre, maybe even a half acre, could work as well. So in your neighborhood, if you went in together and got a cow or so, and some chickens, you could weather about anything.
      I am happy with the rural lifestyle, though. Like templar knight, the sunset from the back porch is great. Also, I wouldn’t need to bug out. My home on 5 acres is my bug out as well.

  54. SurvivalistWoman says:

    I will be staying in my home bugging out as a last resort only and do have multiple plans b,c,d,e ,f for certain emergencies, earthquake, tornado, fire, flood, biological, etc. I have an emergency planner for each of these emergencies should something happen to me the family can use . I do believe there to be safety in numbers whether its family,friends or neighbors. I am watching Eygpt with great intent as I too believe this can give us all a look into what this type of situation may bring. Thanks for bringing up this topic Michael. May God bless you all.

  55. I agree that bugging out should be the last possible resort and only if you are certain that you will not be safe in your home.

  56. Thanks Tom and wife for your kind offer. May you and yours be very blessed. I live in Maryland by the way.

  57. I like to think in a layered approach with this. 1) Stay Home unless absolutely forced out. If forced out, try to have a place to hide as much of the important stuff as you can- so if you return one day, you can “dig it back up”. Be ready to leave, and maybe go a to a family or friend’s place in a better location ( worked out in advance) Now you are teaming up and they likely will be glad to have you there to help. I see very little written about this option. Of course you can house hop as you go, build the team and collective knowledge until you are at a better somehwere together. 3) Next / final layer, Bug out to the wilderness. Depending on the size of the area, that is not as bad as some make it out (gangs, hunting etc). In our local State Forest, it may be an issue. In a vast National Wilderness area, nature will get you first. So it all boils down to wilderness self relienace and primitive living skills – not “camping”. You will study/practice that if at all really serious about surviving a really serious scenario. Maintaining a cache in potential wilderness area retreat locations is not a bad idea – though I am admittedly afraid to leave a bunch of stuff hidden in the woods.

  58. So a key bug-in question I have is what do you do when the “authorities” order a mandatory evacuation for your area?

    My understanding is that you CAN refuse to evacuate, but in return you will NOT be receiving any services such are fire, ambulance, police. In Cali, its a finable misdemeanor offense to refuse to evacuate, but in a real situation I doubt that really matters.

    As preppers we may (or may not) know your evacuation rights, but what about the local cop on the beat? In Cali wildfires, the firefighters get pissed because they feel you are putting them at risk by saying. And we all saw how in Katrina how self-sufficient folks were harassed for not leaving, especially if they were armed. I also heard that some Katrina rescuers were a little non-plussed when preppers refused to be rescued…this resulted in a few tense conversations.

    I would be interested in other folks thoughts on refusing to evacuate.

  59. SrvivlSally says:

    Thinking about the gangs and others that you have mentioned, you would be far better off leaving and not staying unless you are absolutely certain that your home is not going to be ambushed from outside while at home. If your walls are thin enough like those of a travel trailer, then a few good hits from a gun will be all that is needed to penetrate. Is it worth risking your life or escaping where you will at least have a chance to walk until you find safety in a very, very, very, very, very remote location where not too many people will be looking, living or ?. High up in the mountains during summer, lower during winter, or the other way around. I would rather deal with bear, cougar and other critters than man because he is far more difficult to predict than a forest-dwelling hairball. It just depends upon where you live and where you can go. I would suggest setting a plan of where you will go when the rogues are about and the vampires and zombies are seeking what they will. In defending one’s territory, home, etc., if the 24-hour rogues are around you are still not going to get a lot of sleep because with enough of them they would be capable of taking it in shifts. Not to mention, they would be stealing the citizen’s guns and ammo and probably be able to outlast you (anyone) quite easily. I would rather take a gun, my quick bag and a coat and have nothing more than that to try to save what I would likely not be able to keep anyway. Concealment of goods right now, cacheing tomorrow, and final preparations the day after and all will, hopefully, be set. I can go hungry but if rogues or others find me then I am toast. Do you think that most people would taste good with butter or peanut butter and jelly? I hope that if I am faced with gangs that I taste worse than a loaf of Limburger, rotten (maggot infested) meat or something worse. My choice would be to run for it and wait it out. At least, not for six to twelve months or so. By then, most goods should be pretty depleted and maybe some sicknesses or starvations will have taken them over. I think I will get some sealed up seeds packed into a small carry out so I will be able to eat sprouts to stay alive for while. A few types of seeds are high in protein and a person, if they eat only those every day, can live off of the them indefinitely.

  60. First I want to say that you had a very well put together piece. I am an instructor and a practitioner in Homeland Security and Emergency Management. I did find some issues with the premise on your security at home.

    “Remember, though, you’ll be quitting your job, abandoning your house, and your bills will pile up in your overflowing mailbox and remain unpaid. When a crisis occurs, you will not have time to make a successful bug out plan, so you must make your plan now. ”
    If this is a large event like “Katrina” or Egypt, all services will be stopped for a period of time.

    You can still call the police who might be able to assist you. In a large event there is no guaranteeing that the police will be there to respond. Again I point to Katrina.

    Bugging in should always be your first option though, if you have information in your network (this is key, never be an army of one) and you see the situation going down hill…leave earlier then latter. Have a place to go. You should have a gear at home and you secondary location. Drill your skill and go to your bug-out location via different routs and times of day.

    Good luck and stay safe!

  61. Hi. Any info on travelling with small kids and/or fido…I’m guessing cats and rodents get left behind or turned into dinner…..we are in a suburban area so the roads will be dicy.

    Another question: gas. Going any distance will require fill-ups. Is there a good plan for safe fuel storage?

    Any thoughts on how far to bug-out to? We have a couple of options available deep in remote forrest areas-where known cabins /water, etc are. However walking is out. Driving would take 8 hrs with light traffic.

    I’m wanting to hunker down at home. It’s a rental so not sure if I dare nailing boards across the slider door…

    Thanks everyone!

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