Bugging in or bugging out?

This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest  by Doods Dayto in the Philippines

This is an issue that I often see in survivalist threads but after reading many discussions, many find bugging in a more acceptable position. I live in the city and my province, the only possible bugging out location is 500 kilometers away, passing thru many town and cities that in a SHTF situation could be in worst situation than us.

Thus bugging out in a SHTF scenario here is akin to “jumping from your relatively safe boat, to a hungry shark infested waters”. As you can see, I am keener on staying put (see my simple preps listed above) and most of my peer and survival buddies are likewise prepared to do so, our mindset is to fight it out, make/produce food and make our dead-end street a camp-like bug-in place.

However if bugging out is a must, like in a huge uncontrolled fire scenario we need to leave, or war-like situation like coup (we used to have a lot!), or government order that I cannot fight off, then off we leave. My family and I have a basic preparation but are still hoping to hone it.

  1. BOV – we have a family sedan (not a BOV!) and a Suzuki mini-truck (called a Multi-cab here, and YES our BOV) I’ve seen this in one of the You-Tube post as a sensible bug-out vehicle because of its sturdy fabrication and small engine that uses very little fuel (long mileage?). We can have it configured in such a way that we can fit many of the “catering boxes” containing our survival stuff in it. Once I fully paid it, (it’s still a company vehicle on a salary deduction payment scheme), I shall have a roof rack with locked enclosure built on top (design made, measured to fit coolers and plastic opaque “catering boxes”, note the word “locked” so zombies won’t be able to touch it) so that some comfort be left for the kids, leaving the essentials inside. Am even looking at making a small luggage carriage to be pulled by the Multi-cab so extra stuff can be hauled, including the boys bike. It may not look rugged, sturdy or expensive but given my income capacity and current financial status, this is best I can afford under the circumstances!
  1. BOB – we all have our individual BOBs, mine a Nikko day pack with a back support. It is not huge, but inside is a survival kit composed of a tin can (with fishing kit, signal items, fire starters, hand saw, utility knife, mirrors, compass, magnifying glass, solar flashlight etc.), an inexpensive stainless steel covered cooking pan (inside is bouillon cubes, pack of peanuts, instant noodles, instant soup, instant 3-1 coffee, teas, cookies), also in the bag are canned paella, tuna, post American war games MRE set (one pack, yes we have them here! P100 pesos apiece from black marketers) and other food stuff, plus a can of sterno, a set of clothes in a dry bag, an underwater flashlight, my first aid kit, sunglass and wind glass (actually my shooting eye protector), a toiletry kit, a bolo in a wooden sheath, a thermal blanket, a 1.5 liter hydration system, a glow stick, and my guns holster set (only when bugging out I shall put the gun here) . On the several pockets outside, there is a 10 meter rope, a compass, a small binocular, a knife, a signal mirror, a small folding hoe, a folding saw, a 1 liter water jug in an insulated holder, and my meds kit. My kids have their own (pre-used school bags) with flashlight, signal mirror, 500 ml water jug with insulator, a small toiletry cum first aid kit, mosquito repellant, glow stick, sunglasses, some energy or chocolate bar (snickers), sunscreen, hat and set of clothes. We all have a copy of city map in our BOB and I have trained them how to use it and key meet zones in areas we pre-determined if separated. Relatives and friends houses are likewise marked. BOL – this we really don’t have yet except for the provinces mentioned above.

    I am scouting one in nearby provinces where I plan to do the following prep:

    1. Acquire a fairly secure property away from main roads and inconspicuous from outside “viewers”, low profile yet inside is a small community, with deep water supply or small creek or river (possible mini hydro power source as seen on You Tube). I shall have the area fenced and put “defensive kiosks” in strategic corners.
    2. Raise goats and chickens. Am taking a course on how to raise “smell-less” pigs and rabbits. I was taught on how to manage the goat’s appetite by fence manipulation.
    3. Growing fruits & veggies (even hydroponics, where am taking a course soon) and plenty of fruit trees (mangoes! bananas! Sorry no apples here, pineapples yes!) and other fast growing crops, we’re in the tropics so coconuts will be plentiful, it’s not called “tree of life” for nothing! We don’t have apples pies but buco pies (young coconut meat)!
    4. Carbo crops are so easy to grow, sweet potatoes, cassava, sago, tubers, corn and other sources of carbohydrates. The root crops tubers can be dried, hand milled to flour-like consistency and can be prepared in other exciting ways (cassava pancakes are fun!) so that the kids wont get bored eating boiled root crop all the time! Also leaves of these crops are also cooked in coconut milk and are excellent protein source.
    5. Take care of bees for honey (sweets source) and fruit propagation (good pollinators!

    My mid-term plan if I cannot find/buy this property nearby is to slowly convert our property in the province and start it’s conversion and move there, especially if the city has started showing its crumbling. Lucky for me, a sister have since settled in our property, and slowly homesteading and creating many survivalist-like conditions in our piece of land. Her being an Adventist helped (am still a devout Catholic btw) and except for the pigs and rabbits, we have agreed on most above and have already (she and her husband ) began work, including her cooking (in firewood stoves) of many of our local food into vegetarian version, getting most of the stuff from around her place.

     Desirables in a bug-out/BOL scenario (at least ours, given our condition/situation)

        1. FRS radio, three sets so we can have one each plus one extra
        1. G19 in a Roni kit with shell catcher
        2. Of course, a better all-weather BOV. The tiny truck is dead on the water, literally, in our flooded streets (rain drenched typhoon scenario)
        3. A full medical kit (with small surgical capacity)
        4. Full-auto rifle- AR-15 and the like! With tons of ammo (of course I want to write here 50 cal. mounted in a jeep but well…..)
        5. Full water treatment system!
        6. Solar Panels and arrays of long life batteries!
        7. A full farming seed supply for tropical setting, including hand operated farming tools

    i. and many more…

    Surviving in a third world country “blessed” with many typhoons and other calamities is not for peeps with a faint heart. Our people are used to this, and unlike those Katrina victims holed up in the coliseums (?), we do not fight, blame the government and create riots and the like but would, in acceptance, move on and switch on to our survival mode, an instinct we all seem to have. Total strangers can be allowed even in the simplest homes and shared meals no matter how small it may seem. We are a “survival mode” country 24/7/365. We’ve been thru a lot and we may continuously do so, meteorites forgiving! But me and my family, of course will continuously be on alert, and prepping.

    What about you do you plan on bugging out or bugging in? Why ?:-)

    This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:

    First Prize) Winner will receive a Stealth Body Armor Level II vest courtesy of SafeGuard ARMOR™ LLC and a $150 gift certificate for Wolf Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner.com   A total prize value of over $600.

    Second Prize) Winner will receive a Wise Essentials Kit courtesy of LPC Survival and an EcoZoom’s Versa Stove courtesy of EcoZoom stoves.. A value of over $300.

    Third Prize) Winner will receive copies of both of my books “31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness” and “Dirt-Cheap Survival Retreat: One Man’s Solution”  and a Katadyn Siphon Water Filter courtesy of Mayflower Trading Company.  A total prize value of $107.

    Contest ends on June 5 2012.

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.


  1. Off topic:
    Thought this was interesting. Seems now that in some places you can be thrown into prison for debt and the real deal is not for thousands of dollars but low hundreds.
    So make one of the top priorities in your preps to get out of debt and stay there.
    Now there are things that one will have to continue to consider such as car payments and house payments/rent (wonder if oweing back rent will get you put in the slammer?). But consider the confusion in your life THEY can cause you for being in debt. Must go along with them being able to take you into custody without your rights in consideration or a lawyer.

  2. Our main plan is to Bug In. We can Bug Out but it’s not a good long term solution for us. We are looking for land, in the proper area, that will let us move out of town and have more secure water and sewage.

  3. Doods,
    Looks like you are really using you head, and thinking of multiple possible problems and solutions. That alone puts you way ahead of much of the world! Keep it up!

    • Thank you Omo Bob, my inspiration for these are like minded people like you. I should be the one thanking all of you here (most to M.D. Creekmore of course) because it helped me a lot organize my own prepps!

  4. I came across an article the other day on Survival Blog and bugging out is probably a bad idea unless you have the land and everything. But you also have to be prepared for the influx of people leaving the city and trying to over ride your lands for shelter and protection. You can only serve so much because when crowds get big, the IQ drops because people would do things they would normally not do, especially if the crowd becomes in raged.

    They always say, the closure you are to danger, the further you are away from harm. Think of it like being under the belly of the dragon where it can’t see no matter how hard it tries but will obliterate everything in its path.

    • This seems like a good mindset, am following this line of thinking. also from that “Art of War’ book, when the enemy is near, make him feel you are far, when the enemy is far, make him feel you are near, or something to that effect! Thanks Shopthinks.com!

  5. Doods Dayto,
    Although most people here in the US would consider your normal lifestyle to be primitive buy our modern (especially city) standards, living more simply can obviously have its benefits. I’ve often asked people what they consider a higher standard of living, and too often it comes down to the “stuff” they own. If I have a 42 inch television and you have a 60 inch set, do you have a better standard of living. I would say no, but there are many who would consider things like this to be included in their definition. We live in an area with a lot of Amish, and they surprisingly use more of modern society’s resources than one might think; however, they have fallback positions and alternate sources for food, clothing, fuels, etc. Our own rural residents from perhaps 100 years ago live perhaps much as you do now, and in some ways I think they were happier, and definitely more self sufficient. When I look at your BOB contents, they remind me more of a simple survival kit, but with the right skills and attitude would allow someone to live in moderate comfort until more permanent shelter and other amenities could be constructed. I think we could all learn a lot from 2nd and 3rd world countries, especially in how we could live a little below our current means and more self reliant and simple.

    As for me, our BOB and bug out plan is only meant for temporary use. For that time when the local emergency services asks us to evacuate due to a chemical spill, or some other temporary event that would make staying here hazardous. For that reason we don’t even have plans for extending the BOB into an INCH bag, because anything that serious would probably be lethal (as in a locally detonated nuclear device). Our long term plans have always been to bug in, and we picked this property nearly 30 years ago, in part with that in mind. We have multiple water sources, an established garden which we are expanding, fruit trees and berry bushes, with more on the way. Bees will be added this week, and the sugar maples we planted 15 years ago should be ready to start tapping next spring. We’ve expended too many resources and planning to leave this place behind with the hope of finding someplace to survive. If you live in a situation where bug in is not feasible, and bug out looks like the best scenario, then you should get your BOL and start making it more that a place to pitch a tent in an emergency. Any money and time you spend getting it ready now, will pay dividends if and when you need it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Doods – Great article
      I think your standard of living is higher then mine and my friends – and we live in Seattle (a metro one city). From your last post and this – you have thought out what you can do and what you need. I work as a IT engineer with recent diploma in computer networking and In the last 2 years I have only had a four month contract. My preps are down and the only reason I’m not homeless is because I own my home and was barely able to make the taxes. I have two friends who have had to go back to prior skillsets and go back to private security – one is homeless and couch surfs till he can get a basic RV. I haven’t been able to buy preps faster then I am using them.

      Ohio- Sounds like your luckily in a good situation, as someone who recently had someone try to have a home invasion and defend his home, I don’t think we have the 1st world slot much longer.

      just sayin….

      • Anonymous….
        Sounds like you have been prepping for your present circumstances and that it is “paying off” very well for you?
        Good luck.

      • village idiot says:

        And while you have remained under-employed, tens of thousands of foreign nationals from India, China and other countries have been brought into our country on work visas that fit your job description. Only a totally corrupt government would allow such a thing. I wish you good fortune and hope you find a steady job soon.

      • Anonymous,
        Luck has had little to do with it. Just sacrifice (as in no trips to Disney World, No new cars, save for items instead of credit cards), planning, and hard work. If you already have a house, unless you won it in a lottery, then that was also not luck, but some of that same planning and sacrifice. You’ll eventually get there with the right attitude.

  6. Excellent real world post!

  7. The biggest problem I saw in the Philippines, besides the rampant corruption, was the lack of potable H2O. The reservoir system is in shambles and totally insufficent for the ever expanding population.
    The rain harvesting systems are used in the NMI islands with great success and could be adapted in the Philippines also.


  8. SurvivorDan says:

    Bug in. Lots of preps, tools, generators, and reasonably prepped for defense. Aaaannnnd….bug out. Two hours to load truck and trailer and other vehicle. Wish I had an old deuce-n-a-half loaded and ready to go but that’s is not in our near future.
    Now Dood….you know the idea of the .50 is silly.
    I would much rather have an Mk-19 automatic grenade launcher. I’m too bad a long distance shooter for the .50. 😉 Good luck buddy.

    • JP in MT says:

      Once you get the deuce you get a LVP-7 turret and mount it instead of the Ma Deuce ring mount. It have both!

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Sorry Dood but kRiss did ask about this on your last post.

      kRiss: In case you didn’t go back to the previous post…..

      Check out this article by M.D. Creekmore that will help you get started on urban preparedness and survival.


      I’m sure the Wolfpack will have a lot more to say to help get you moving in the right direction.

    • SD…..
      If I remember correctly, you are in the desert? Me too. I always wanted to outfit a custom trailer as a “Bug Out Vehicle”, keeping it in the garage. But summer heat woulod “Kill” eveything in it! I’d either have to get AC into the garage (at a huge cost, not only to install but to run) or empty out the trailer every summer from April/May to September/October.

      I even considered ducting air into the trailer; insulating the trailer with fiberglass insulation blankets, and then ducting the air out of the trailer-back into the house in a “closed loop” system. We’ll see.

      • SurvivorDan says:

        I’m in the Godforsaken Sonoran desert! Right on Hawkeye. Our alternative for a dedicated BOV/Trailer is to have everything packed except the food and water. But, that’s the bulk of it, so there has to be a cooling system. A few of the WolfPack engineers could probably come up with an reasonably affordable way to keep the inside of a trailer or truck relatively cool. Here it can be over 110 degrees for weeks on end.

        • Yup SD….
          Sonoran Desert here too…East of the big city.

          I believe my thought that an enclosed trailer, insulated on the outside with blankets of fiberglass batting (sp) could just work…maybe even well! A small trailer and, as I say “enclosed”. My garage is attached. It would be a fairly simple matter to run fexible ducting, out of the house, into the bottom of the trailer with an exit duct out the top of the trailer and back into the cooled part of the house. A “closed loop” system. The trick is to avoid losses in my HOT, West facing garage.

          Any power failure during monsoons and I’m SCREWED! The water is already stored in the garage but the food I would be very worried about.

          • SD and others……….
            By the way. Sportsmans Guide has Portuguese 7.62X51 NATO which, according to the M14Forum’s “Old Pros”, is pretty good stuff. Ive shot a lot of German NATO by DAG but not the Portuguese. It’s been hard to find anything for lately and this is a really good price. I get 5% of ammo, as a club member, and I had a $10 coupon so the cost was $370.71 on my doorstep for 5X200 round battlepacks. They were selling in increments of 20, 200, 400 and 1000 rounds. All but the 1000 round item number was SOLD OUT on day one! The 1000 round package will be gone in days if not hours. Just a “heads up”.

          • SurvivorDan says:

            East huh? Howdy neighbor.
            Thanks for the tip but I am without that caliber weapon. Must remedy that soon.

            • SD…..
              Yup, East. If I remember, you are South some?
              Too bad about not having “that caliber”. I was big into ARs; then “saw the light”…dug an old Polytech M14S out of the closet, where it had been since about “89”, took it to Smith Enterprises in Tempe and an arm and a leg later had a Great M14 type rifle. Now I got two…one for each hand 😉

  9. MD third prize is the best one! I learn so much from the posts from outside the US. It is a great mind expander. While we have the opportunity we need to learn and prepare and seek knowledge.

  10. Doods,
    Good luck on the preps. It’s good that you have family that can begin the process at your bug out location. I also have family to work with and they are a blessing! I too, like the idea of a fifty cal. ! It would look sweet in the back of my F150!

    • Thanks Frank, selling the survivalist idea to family took sometime, am glad were all in this now…

  11. Canadagal says:

    Wow!!! On a limited wage you have done so much! Congratulations. Keep up the preps. You say your country people are good at this. Wish we all our community wanted to be prepped. Manybe it is easier when you’ve been through hard times. Guess we’ve had it too easy.

    • Thank you Canadagal! am still working on extra income to raise money for survival preps, including doing home bartending for people! ha ha ha, Thanks for inspiring me.

  12. Great article. You are way ahead of the multitudes. Thanks for all the info and a different look at things.

    • Thanks HandAxeProMan…I dont really feel way ahead..but I know we can pull thru. You guys here really push and inspire me!

  13. axelsteve says:

    I prefer to bug in . I would rather deal with idiots that I know rather then a new group of idiots that I don`t know. If I had a bug out location in my area that would be a different story though.

  14. I read the article with interest and what stood out for me was the “smelless raising of pigs and managing the goats with fencing” I would love to get more information on this. I have gotten chicken raising down pat even to auto watering them. We have solar water system with drip for a large part of the garden. We need to add more animals now. Because it is a WTSHTF situation we don’t have to kill ourselves working if we are smart.

    • Hi Ann, am attending the seminar for raising smell-less pigs, but the basic principle is having the sty cleaned all the time with water system and having them out in the field for morning “defecation” in a prepared area where the topsoil is removed, dug out to a meter, place sawdust to absorb the smell and replace the topsoil. I shall get the details and hopefully can share here. Fence mgmt for goats is basically (as explained by an uncle) not allow them to roam the entire area (if you have a big lot) but allow them in a fenced off area first to eat, then once the grass and plants in that area is finished, you move them to the next fenced one and allow the “used area” to regrow its vegetation. This may be tricky since goats are known to be voracious eater!! We are working on this now….but these guys eat ANYTHING! ha ha ha….(I like the article today on Goat raising, learned a lot, including knowing their meat is called Chevron!)

  15. Annie Nonymous says:

    Someone somewhere told me the best plan to effect a viable bugout location is to move there, become part of your new local community, and make that home NOW, not after TEOTWAWKI.

    The next best is to get a good BOL and while you may not be able to live there full time, still BECOME part of your community.

    Planning to BO without a known and solid place of your own is foolishness, as those who ARE part of your planned bol community will take you, not as a pat of their community, but as a stranger. No matter your intentions, or no matter how good or well prepped you are, you are still a stranger… and will be treated as such.

    Thinking otherwise is folly. Because you are not part of the community, you are at best the golden hoarde, and at worst the mutant zombie, that will not be welcome.

  16. Annie Nonymous says:

    I have a decision to make – so I figured the best place to ask advice was the pack…

    I am looking at an alternate BO location. I have narrowed it to two. What are your thoughts??

    (1) is a well constructed home on 1/2 acre, backing up to National Forest land. It is able to be made defensable through an infusion of $ and sweat equity, but the plot is small… it does have a good well and a good septic system.

    (2) is a “manufactured” home on 5 acres, in not the best shape, would take more than a small infusion of $$$ to probably replace or make nice… the PL is on a creek, however, and there is the acreage… and out buildings…

    The price is within 15k of each other… they are in relatively the same community, meaning same economy, same neighbors, same politics, and a church of our faith within an hour drive (or a few hours overland by horse)… Given what I told you, what are your pros and cons about this? Which would you lean towards, and why?

    Thanks, packmates…
    Sister Annie

    Both are in proximity of one another, and the community is solid…

  17. SurvivorDan says:

    Annie Anon:
    Well I like the property backing up to the National Forest land (especially if it is timbered).Maybe add a water tank or cistern? I like the well constructed home better than the manufactured which is in ill-repair. Better in bad weather and more defendable.
    If the SHTF you effectively have title to as much land behind you as you can hold on to so the 5 acres is not a benefit. 1/2 acre is enough to establish a garden and some livestock with the ability (cached fencing materials etc.) to expand to the Nat. For. land if TSHTF.
    More defensible than being surrounded by folks. There might be advantages to making alliances with neighbors surrounding you on the 5 acre plot, but you can do the same on the property that borders the Nat. For. land. I vote for the 1/2 acre plot. IMHO.

    • Annie Nonymous says:

      Thanks, Dan… I am kind of leaning that direction, will go look at both up close and personal this weekend – it is a bit distant but still within the “3 tank of gas” rule. I was told by the realty guy there are outbuildings on the 5 acre land… and of course the 5 acre has the year round creek next to it where the 1/2 acre does not. Speaking of, he just sent me a few emails… wish us luck!

  18. Anonymous APE says:

    I have a question I am in a situation where I rent a Garage Room from a Family Member, and pretty soon I will be living in an Apartment (I cannot stay any longer I have been here for 3 yrs and now I must move on), due to my budget of only $1300mon / $15k yr. I live in Dallas, TX.

    I have not seen much about apartment prepping and worst case scenario’s. I have opened my eyes and mind to this for over a month and started purchasing seeds and now starting to prepare for Food / Water. I am also starting to research everything and print copies since the WWW, why not take advantage of this FREE tool.

    It seems to me that I have heard several scenarios where people will flee the cities and head out to the country. I do not have a real case scenario or finance to BO, so my only option is to bug-in.

    I am on a goal to lose a 100lbs this year and prep at the same time. I am very good at storing knowledge. I used to do Boy Scouts as a kid. I am in my mid to late 20’s and am looking for practical realistic apartment scenario situation.

    I have crazy ideas on how to manage sewer issues, bathing / filtering the water for re-use in case of power failure and a way to preserve water and filter for bathing again. I have knowledge and ideas to create solar and wind energy for under $100. I understand Food / Water is the most important. But is it realistic to think that I could truly survive in an apartment for up to a year or longer?

    I am looking for any type of ideas or thoughts above truly surviving / Bugging-In in a populated area within an apartment only situation. I feel after a couple of months people may leave to head to the country, but I live in Dallas, TX so what are my realistic scenarios?

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