Bugging Out vs. Hunkering Down

screw-clamp-64173_640The very idea of leaving the security of your home to “bug out” to the woods has never sat well with me – In nearly every instance it’s better to hunker down or “bug in” than to bug out. I mean, why leave the safety and familiar surroundings of your home, for the open and unforgiving wilderness.

For many people this is their first line of preparation against disaster, unfortunately, most will end up joining the multitude of other refugees freezing in a cave and eventually end up dead or wards of whatever government is still functioning.

I live in a fairly safe area and have prepared to survive at home and can conceive of only a few scenarios that would force me to leave. Even then, I would go to an out-of-state relatives house with whom, I have a pre-arranged agreement, where if need be he can come to my place or I to his after a disaster.

I know what you’re thinking “what about an end of the world as we know it” type event, well if such an event were to take place, there would be no 100% safe place for most of us, and really do you think you would be better of making a go of it in the open wilderness as opposed to hunkering down at home.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should never bug out to the wilderness; we should indeed keep all our options open, what I am saying is that there are better ways to survive most disasters than heading into the bush.

You need to weigh the risks of bugging out vs. hunkering down and make your final decision based on logic and type of threat. That’s the way decisions should be made, unfortunately many people when making plans for survival side with emotion (that emotion being to run and hide) instead of the more tried and true form of decision-making known as logic.

Relying on emotion instead of logic can make for some interesting adventures; however without sound planning beforehand those adventures are likely to be sort lived. For example, I recently asked a fellow in his late 30’s what he would do if disaster struck his area.

He thought for a moment and said he would gather his family and all the food, guns and ammunition he could find and head for the mountains that lay some seventy-five miles to the north of his home.

Depending on the type of disaster, his “plan” might work short term for a lone survivor or a small group of individuals in good physical condition with proper gear and mind-set. But he is a new father and his wife is one of those that think missing an appointment at the nail-salon is the end of the world as she knows it.

Making matters worse he has no outdoor survival training or skills other than watching reruns of Less Stroud’sSurvivorman” and camping at a national park campground with all the utilities and hookups. Why he thinks he can survive off the wilderness while dragging his family along, I don’t know. He isn’t thinking logically.

His decision was based on emotion and as a result if he ever has to put his plan to the test in the real world his family will likely suffer or die because of his decision and “Red Dawn” thinking. Unfortunately, this batman in the boondocks mentality is and will continue to be the chosen survival plan for many who haven’t thought it through.

When making survival plans for your family you have to honestly weigh the risks of your decision based on logic. In almost every disaster scenario, it is better to stay put (bugging in) or head to a pre-arranged safe place at an out-of-town relatives or friends house than it is to head to the woods to eat twigs and pine bark.

For most people an evacuation bag is a better choice than a bug out bag. An evacuation bag should contain the gear necessary to get you from point A to point B, whereas a bug out bag (in most cases) is geared more toward wilderness survival. I have both, but admittedly my bug out bag is an option of last resort.

Knowing when to go is much more important than the contents of your survival pack or even where you will go. You don’t want to jump and run before you need too, but you don’t want to wait too long or you may never reach your destination.

If you wait for the authorities to give the order to evacuate it may already be too late. The roads leading to safety could be blocked and impassable by motor vehicle and walking to your destination may be impossible or too dangerous to attempt.

On the other hand if you jump and run in response to every potential disaster you’ll soon deplete your resources and the patience of your family, school and employers.For example, say you live in an area prone to tornadoes like Texas and you evacuate to Arkansas every time the clouds turn dark or the wind shakes the leaves. You would literally stay on the road. But waiting until the twister is at your door will put you at an unnecessary risk.

There are no easy answers; all you can do is weigh the dangers of bugging out vs. hunkering down depending on the situation and logic. You have to consider the nature of the threat and ask yourself which gives the best chance of survival with regards to the type of disaster you are facing.

Then, there are times when evacuation is obvious, say you live on the Florida coast and a category 5 hurricane has been predicted to hit that coast within twenty-four hours, in that case you would be stupid not to go now, even if you have no prearranged bug out location…

On the other hand let’s say there is snow storm heading your way and you have food, water, heat and a way to cook even if the power goes out for an extended amount of time then you are probably better off to hunker down where you are.

In my opinion the bugging out vs. hunkering down debate is moot because it all comes down to the type of threat, your personal situation and preparedness level – in the end you’ll have to make that decision based on that knowledge and common sense.

Note: Next time you see this topic in a forum or on another blog – feel free to use this post to instantly win the argument.

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. Name needs correction says:

    Just wanted to let you know that you misspelled Les Stroud name its not Less Shoud it’s Les Stroud unless you meant to be funny and don’t respect the guy.

    • Name needs correction,

      Just a typo – I actually like the guy.

    • SrvivlSally says:

      I looked for the mis-spelling but did not see it and used edit, find on this page, typed in your spelling and still did not find nor see it.

    • Hank Hill says:

      LMAO. Hey spelling cop, did you know you misspelled his name too? The last name is Stroud, not Shoud.. and btw you forgot the apostrophe and “s” that should have been at the end of his name the first time you mentioned him.

    • Desert Fox says:

      I really like his shows but if you really think about it…he doesn’t eat well during the seven days he is surviving. Even though he gets advise from locals about the area he’ll survive in, he still has a pretty hard time. Just think you and the family under those conditions. Granted you will have supplies, bedding, shelter etc. but that won’t last forever. With all that said, Buggin In or Buggin Out will be better if you are somewhat prepared.

      By the way, “NNC” the author only added an extra “s” to his first name…that’s all – I doubt any disrespect was intended. 😉

  2. Down South says:

    Staying put!!!

  3. Bugging in is the only way to travel.
    I’ve a BOB ready for the alternative, but it’s definitely a last resort. That’s why I carry a GHB- ‘cuz I intend getting back if there’s an event.
    For me, it’s going to have to be an attack on the homestead to drive me out- but only far enough away to formulate a plan of counter-attack and get my place back.
    After all- it’s where most my preps are: the garden, tools, clothing and food supplies, weapons, et-al. No sense leaving that without a fight. And even less reason to not do my best to get it back if the case arises.
    “Home” is where you are known, where family and friends know to find you if they must, or the neighbors when they need your particular skillset. It’s where you’re most comfortable, know your way around and have formed personal relationships with others- even if they aren’t preppers, they’re neighbors who know you and are probably as willing to defend their turf beside you. And in case of a SHTF event, they’ll be the ones who might become your best friend, customer, ally, laborer… you get the idea.
    Of course, intending on remaining in place (SIP) is all the more reason to be the Gray Man. Don’t make yourself a target or person of interest. Yet be ready to be a guerilla when the need arises.
    Besides, being a refugee- even one with some supplies- is the least desireable option for any of us- there’ll be many, many millions of refugees, all of them bound for some interment camp, or worse. Don’t desire to become one if you can avoid it- you can’t track someone who isn’t making tracks.
    Shy III

  4. Hunkering down in familiar surroundings with a well thought-out set of supplies is obviously the best option, but there are some situations in which bugging out would be necessary because your home is not inhabitable (e.g., nuclear accident). It has always seemed most likely to me that these scenarious would be localized disasters, and if you can bug out of the region, you would find a functional society. I keep camping gear, extra gas, and 2-3 months of food in known locations so they could be quickly loaded up if a bug out was needed. As long as the banks are working, I could get by with savings and re-establish things in the new locale. A localized major disaster in combination with a widespread meltdown of society seems remote to me, and I’d have to make up that plan as I went along.

  5. j Stuart says:

    Bug In. I’ve decided to bug in and eat the wallpaper if necessary, but leave only when over-run or in a box.

  6. Santa Walt says:

    Thank you for this. I live in a rural area and I can’t think of anything that would make me leave my home. Even destruction by a tornado, or a major earthquake (I live near the New Madrid Fault) is not likely to cause me to leave. Only if all my supplies had completely disappeared would I leave. In that case, it is likely that I would not be able to leave. If the house just turned into a pile of rubble, I could still dig through it and find my food, and other necessities, including a tent and sleeping bags. Should I bug out, all I would be doing is leaving the bulk of my supplies, including food and weapons, for the unknown where a lot of kooks would also be traveling. Besides, if my house were rubble, the nasty guys would probably pass it by thinking nothing of value was there. Keep up the good work.

  7. John Maddalena says:

    Yes Sir I firmly believe Y’all are right on here….and this is what I’m going to do when TSHTF….Grand-paw always told me not to go running off half-cocked…..I’m with Y’all good plan….

  8. Axeanda45 says:

    I plan on bugging in… but plans are in place for a back-up location to go to (bugout) if home area is no longer safe.

  9. I took this approach for Bug In vs Bug Out..

    First step to write down the threat matrix/decision tree for your area.
    It’s going to vary from region to region, and the location in that region. Coastal?
    Where I live, low level flooding, power outages, thunderstorms, and tornados or snow are the 95+% of the time disaster.

    Weather: 95%
    Low Flood:
    Default Action: Bug In.
    Necessary Supplies on hand.
    Water Purification / Supply Checklist

    Thunder Storms: Default Action: Bug In. Bug Out on extended structure damage or power outages greater than 1 week.
    Necessary Supplies on hand.
    Power Outage Checklist.
    Internal Shelter with minimum survival supplies stocked.
    G.O.O.D Vehicle fueled , parked away from falling hazards.
    Spare Fuel.
    Bug Out Supplies ready if home no longer habitable.

    Snow Storm: Default Action: Bug In.
    Necessary Supplies on hand.
    Power Outage Checklist.
    Winter Checklist.

    Terrorist Activity: n%
    Default Action: Bug In. Bug Out on proximity.

    Civil Unrest: n%

    Fill in what worries you for where you live and prepare for that first. It helps you stay focused on what is REALLY likely to happen and allocate the proper percentage of money/ preps for that over Black Swan events that ‘could’ happen but are low percentage.

    • onematchwoman says:

      To focus on the most likely scenario makes perfect sense. It really helps narrow down list of needed supplies. Sort of takes away the “overwhelmed” feeling I sometimes get when it comes to prepping. I’ll make sure I have the most vital things for my situation first, then expand on other items for less probable disasters. Thanks for the great tip

  10. Bugging out or Bugging in is wholly dependent on if the event forces you from your home. Even if I should be forced from my home, retreating to a remote hideaway would be problematic at best. There would likely be other people wandering around. Likely armed and hungry.
    It is far better to plan ahead and look first at environmental factors that could force you out of your home. The simplest solution is to not build where environmental disasters would force you from your home.
    Bug in where you are prepared unless your life or freedom are in imminent danger.

  11. I’ve gone to great lengths to insure bugging in is the most logical option. My wife has arthritis in all the major joints and walking for any length of time is out of the question. Consequently I’ve made a huge effort to have redundancy in all the things that sustain life Ie: the ability to access potable water and the means to treat water that might not be immediately safe to drink. Two ways to provide heat. Multiple methods of cooking food. Several ways of providing light Short range weapons of mass buckshot and a few reach Out and touch them rifles. I’ve given this a lot of thought I think it’s something everyone should give some long and serious thought to. The fact that I live on the outer edge of a very small town (pop 700) amongst lakes and bayous within a short walk to many millions of acres of hunting land and the fact that my wife isn’t physically able to walk for very far makes me come to the decision that I’m not bugging out unless I’m burned out or flooded out. Brad

    • same answer,3 years later,only now my wife just doesnt have severe arthritis,bow she has only one lung. ahhhhh the good old days.

  12. Good article.

    The “what if’s” abound here, but I agree by far it would be better to bug-in so long as you can do so safely. The home is already secure (locks), you can modify it further on a whim to make it more secure (board up windows), your supplies are already stored there (hundreds of pounds of goods), you know the territory as well as some of the people in it (both good and bad). Generally speaking in America, a person generally has more security, resources, rights, freedom, and liberty in their home than anywhere else and that can work to your survival advantage too.

    There are times when it’s not safe to stay at home and greater safety can be found elsewhere. Katrina or an approaching wild fire are two examples, as well as the recent nuclear incident in Japan which forced an evacuation of everyone in the city (with only a 2 hour notice). In these situations it would be better to evacuate to another safe location (e.g. distant home of a friend), but some wilderness survival might be required along the way. If and when this happens, how much of your supply could you take with you on such short notice? If you’d be leaving behind 50% or more of your preparations then it might be a good time to rethink how you could move more of those supplies quickly during an evacuation.

    Lastly, there are times when it is not safe to stay home, but just as dangerous to leave home. The LA Riots come to mind or even an epidemic of disease. Since I can be a potential victim regardless of what I do in those cases I’d rather wait out better days in the comfort of my own home than anywhere else.

    It all depends on the situation, how intense those situations have become, how long they will last, the size of my stored supplies and my ability to transport them, as well as what chance I have of reaching greater safety after leaving my home. The smallest of variables can factor in here, such as having a broken leg or being sick with the flu at that particular moment in time. For sure I am ready to go at any given time, but I will weigh all options before fleeing.

  13. Well yesterday after I finished the last phone conversation and I placed the phone reciever in the cradle it didn’t make contact. My son is out on the road and he called his sister to see if she had heard from me. Well I have gotten in the habit of going to bed early because of this puppy I have. And I was non the wiser over the lack of phone service and was shocked to wake up with my granddaughter and daughter standing at the side of my bed. All sorts of crap went through my brain in a matter of milliseconds.
    Well found out it was me that was the problem. Well proves they must care or they just didn’t want to wait and find a greasy stinky mess in the house.
    But here is the point of the whole thing. When I got up after my second session in bed, to let the dog out I noticed a coke bottle in the yard. Not to unusual but when I panned around the small garage door was open. I have been in there recently, but always, always latch (no lock) the door. So I believe that the phone being off the hook was a blessing. Divine blessing. Their coming over could very well have stopped someone from doing a crime that would have lead to them entering the house later.
    So now will have to change my schedule and secure the area better. So I believe the scum have already started to pilfer. And this isn’t even, well hardly, SHTF time.
    Yes, I should have already been on my guard, especially having harped at the kids to be careful, be safe and watch your back. Well I haven’t been watching my back. I will now, even if I have to attach a rear view mirror sugically to my head.
    I get surprised at all the bugging out theories and those of staying put.
    I think it is up to the CRISIS that is happening, YOUR personal situation, AND what you are able and capable of doing.
    These are not COOKIE CUTTER situations for anyone. There is no way that what one persons needs is the same as the other.
    So therefore have no credible suggestions that have not been discussed before.
    All you can do is plan, plan again, and have a backup plan.

    • The easy-thieving has been on the increase in my town for a couple years now. Weed trimmers from sheds, steel shelving from a barn – propane bottles from backyard grills. break ins also on the rise. It was definitely a sign of things to come as the economy got worse. Glad your situation was a lesson learned instead of news story.

    • Donna in MN says:

      Hope your puppy will grow some to be a good watchdog. They can smell strangers outside, and their bark (if deep sounding) can scare off intruders.

  14. Al Barnes says:

    The Bug in Bug out question is eternal when thinking of preparing for a natural or man made event. On a personal level, bug in is really the only choice for me and my family. The logistics for bugging out would be too demanding in all but the most dire of circumstances, I am fortunate that I do not live in an area that is prone to severe weather being in the Mid-Atlantic and am far enough away from the water that it is a non factor as far as flooding or hurricane damage goes.
    I do have a mutual agreement with one of my brothers and a long time friend, just in the event of something that would force me to leave, but both live within 20 miles of my current location and both are like minded.
    For me and in my situation, bugging out would be an utter last resort, that does not mean I have not planned for it though.

  15. The two natural threats in my area are ice/snow storms and tornadoes. If tornadoes scare you, you need a ‘fraidy-hole’. If freezing to death bothers you, you need a non-electric source of heat.

    Economic collapse, which is where we are at personally. I’m retired and Hubby has moved from being ‘unemployed’ to ‘displaced worker’. You better have NO bills and a place to grow some grub.

    Politically, when the Gestapo go door-to-door looking for ‘useless eaters’, most of us are screwed. Will I go quietly like the Jews in Europe? No, if I am going to die, I am going to take a few with me. All I can hope for is the ones in control understand that and there are enough of us with that attitude for them to show restraint. Which is why we need to desperately hang on to our second amendment “privileges” (to quote George Carlin).

    So in summary, we aren’t going anywhere. We are not 20-something or 30-something or even for that matter 40-something. And if we left where would we go? And how would we feed ourselves after the groceries we carried with us are gone? There isn’t enough wild game and berries to feed 300 million people on the move! I read somewhere (wish I could remember), something that struck a real cord with me, ” If you have to leave your home for the woods the laws of probability say you are already a goner.”

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Judy, I agree – if the jack-booted thugs come for me, I’ll be taking a few of them down with me. No way am I going to go quietly or easily.

      • GAdixiedarlin says:

        AMEN Lint Picker…..you and me, both!!!!!

      • gartersnk says:

        Second the motion – I’d rather die defending my freedom than wither away in some “camp” Also agree with Judy’s comment – if it gets to that point most of us are already goners

        God help us all

    • Tomthetinker says:

      Whats a fella gonna do….. One day yer a working tax payen fool… ya decide to retire early and …. PoP! Media plays you as a ‘useless eater’ Ye ever take a listen to the choice of words used to discribe the Baby Boomers these days…. Judy… MD… I’m bugging in. My BOV has room for one year of preps and related hardware… I store fuel for a 600 mile range…. as if ya could get that far…. my goals are from 16 to 120 miles away.

    • second amendment “privileges”? Regardless of the way the statists may try to treat them, they are still rights, and we should not ever forget that fact or even joke about it.

    • Donna in MN says:

      Since I live in the far north and am skilled in foraging, hunting, and fishing, it is true that unskilled people will have trouble surviving in the woods. Most people don’t have any idea what to eat, don’t know how to sanitize water, or how to build a shelter, but they sure know what style of fake nails they wear on Wednesdays or when happy hour is at the bars!

      I am glad I live far, far, away from a wave of hungry sheeple near the big cities. There will be a lot of casualties of scavengers and country folk in those woods.

  16. mcsoupman says:

    2 small kids and a wife like you mentioned in the blog, “motel 6” is roughing it, I am staying put except for evac only options. I do have a GHB (Get Home Bag) ready in case we are on the road, or across town. Could handle 1 person for 3-4, maybe 5 days, and the 4 of us 1-2 days.

  17. Mary Jane says:

    That is a good question. I live in Kansas City area and yesterday I woke up to tornado sirens going off alone at home with my husband 1500 miles away on a work related trip and my family lives even farther away than that. So bugging out for me is not really an option but bugging in when “twister is at your door” doesn’t seem like a very safe choice either… So I went downstairs, turned on the news and came back up every now and then to look out of the window as I was listening to the reports of funnel clouds touching down and lifting back up all over this area (I didn’t know what else was there for me to do). Yes I even got to see one for myself and got a great video of it. Eventually the storm passed and went east where it did do a lot of damage in Sedalia, MO, less then a 100 miles away from here. 🙁
    I have had the idea of prepping in my head for a while now. I have a decent amount of food stocked up along with other supplies and I am constantly working on expanding it. I am still a newbie to this and sometimes it seems like a wasting of money and efforts: what good will it ever do to me if tornado comes and blows it all away? And this scenario is a lot more likely to happen then TEOTWAWKI, at least in the near future.
    So I was wondering: what would you prepping pros do if you were stuck in my shoes? Preparing for TEOTWAWKI is one thing and I found so much useful information about that here on this site. But what about natural disasters? I feel overwhelmed even thinking about what would I do if one day my house with everything in it was just blown away… How do I even begin to prepare for something like that?

    Also I want to thank you M.D. for excellent blog filled with so many great resources and ideas! I really enjoyed reading it in the past few weeks and found so much useful information for myself! Thank you!

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Mary Jane, is there a storage closet downstairs in your home? Or a crawl space under the house? If so, you could store some food, water, and some cash (I think I’d store modern half dollars or quarters – coins, because they won’t get eaten by silverfish or rot) in a tightly-sealed plastic tote box.

      In the old days, almost every house had a root cellar which doubled as a storm shelter. Even here in CA, rural homes had a cellar of some sort that the residents could hide in. I think it’s time that such a hidey-hole be common practice again. Just remember, you need a way to get out after the tornado has passed. Keep a prybar and axe handy, in case you have to hack your way back up to the surface.

      Mary Jane, get yourself a scanner so you will at least have an earlier warning and can take some supplies downstairs with you.

      • Hunker-Down says:

        I would add a whistle to the pry bar and axe, and keep them in the basement. We have a whistle on the main floor and a second one in the basement to use to contact rescue teams if we can’t get out. DUH…our axe is in the shed.

      • Mary Jane says:

        Thank you for the ideas! I do have a crawl space under stairs on lower level and I have some food, water and other supplies in there but I never thought of adding some tools in case I need to make my way out of there! I still have so much to learn and work on…

      • Mary Jane says:

        Thank you for the ideas! I do have a crawl space under stairs on lower level and I have some food, water and other supplies in there but I never thought of adding some tools in case I need to make my way out of there! I still have so much to learn and work on…

    • As a native Kansan, tornadoes don’t cause me sleepless nights, they are a fact of life like drunk drivers! That said, if you have a basement build a ‘safe room’ in a corner and furnish it with your preps, i.e. a fall out shelter or bomb shelter. Temporary shelter in a basement is a heavy table you can crawl under in a corner pulling a mattress in on top of you. Don’t have a basement, closets and bathrooms are good shelters unless you are dealing with f4 or God-help-you f5 tornado. You can build a safe room above ground but it takes concrete and steel doors, usually they are bathrooms or utility rooms. Once you have your ‘fraidy-hole’ stop worrying about it, because the odds are you will never get hit with one!

    • GardenMom says:

      Mary Jane: All of your preps would be very helpful if a tornado damaged your city, but not your house (thinking Joplin). You wouldn’t need to go to the store and could let that food/supplies be for people who lost everything.

      • Mary Jane says:

        That is very true and indeed my food storage came in handy when they were collecting donations for Joplin: I was able to donate all the food that had to be rotated withing one year.
        As long as tornado does not hit my house directly it will be all good and the hope that it never will keeps me going with my prepping.:)

    • Mary Jane,
      Keep in mind that TEOTWAWKI can be, and often is, a personal thing. A tornado leveling your house would be such an even for you. Here in Ohio, tornados are probably my worst potential event, so all you can do is keep your BOB packed for a short term get away, and make sure you keep an inventory and photographs of everything with the BOB. Depending on the limits of your insurance, much of the food and a lot of the tools and other supplies may be replaced, if you can prove what you had.

      • Mary Jane says:

        You’re right, OhioPrepper, that would be pretty close to TEOTWAWKI to me. And that is a very good idea about the pictures. I have heard that a few times before but never gave it much thought. After that storm the first thing I did the very next day was started pulling out all of my stuff from the closets and taking pictures and also it finally gave me motivation to scan all of my old family photos that are very precious to me. I guess sometimes some people (like me) need a kick in the butt (or a tornado scare) to get off the couch and actually start doing all the things that I have been putting off for so long!

        • Mary Jane ,
          Along with those photos, don’t forget copies or scans of marriage license, birth certificates, deeds, wills, auto titles, etc, along with list of account numbers for credit cards, bank accounts, and other financially related documents. These should all be locked up somewhere safe, but where you can grab them on the way out the door.

        • Donna in MN says:

          I store my photos in an email account I mail myself, that way if my home is totaled, my pictures and computer destroyed, they are save on an internet cloud.

  18. wheelsee says:

    Kudos to 18E

    In medicine, i was taught APIE (Assess, Plan, Implement, Evaluate). I have modified it to SAPIE (STOP, Assess………)

    In aviation, we pre-planned everything we could think of and yes, there is a checklist for same. In an emergency, any crew member told the rest what was happening (caution light, emergency light, smoke in the cabin, etc), the pilot FLEW the aircraft while the copilot occupant pulled out the checklist, flipped to the corresponding issue and called out actions, the rest of us performed and verified that it had been done.

    Firefighting, we inspected buildings and developed plans for various scenarios.

    In high-stress (whatever your definition is, i.e. missed nail appointment, stranded on highway, being robbed, chemical plant spill, etc), you WILL revert to your lowest level of training.

    Echoing 18E, having a written plan is smart. Ideally, the immediate players should have at least sat down and read the plan. However, in the event they didn’t, you can still hand them “The Plan” and point to what needs to be done, giving them a roadmap for productive activity. Heck, you could even do the same if friends or family were visiting you.

  19. nobody from nowhere says:

    i plan to bug in for awhile, but many people in our area are thieves. i will stay here as long as i can, but i do entend to be relocating to a place in the woods. we have a hunting cabin that is miles from the main road and is hard to reach and easy to defend. that are food plots for deer that can be turned into gardens with guards for the deer, springs for water and a few other things that make it great.

    i do remember the words of general patton. a fixxed fortifacation is a monumnet to the stupidity of man.

    • Playing Devil’s Advocate here! Patton also had a supply line and Eisenhower to back him up.

  20. STL Grandma says:

    As soon as I became aware and came out of the media fog, I put together the plan and shared it with my family and my two widely spread best friends. One is 4 hours one way, the other is 2 hours the other way and the one 4 hours away is sitting on 30 acres, 20 acres of it wooded, the rest pasture or hayfields and they own goats. This landowner is also crippled and unable to put in a garden or keep any more live stock then what they have but.. they do have the room for my big extended family and could use the help, being fairly alone in the world so.. the agreement was made that when the SHTF, we’d all make our way there.

    First, we’ll all join up at my daughter’s, a mere 25 miles out And.. NO ONE is do go anywhere unless certain conditions are met IE: The New Madrid Fault lets go.. not a lot of people know this silly city is built on top of caves, but there you go.. major disaster waiting to happen. OR we get caught in one of the many tornados hitting our region all over. OR the great unwashed and gang related sheeple in the city overpower the police there.. I’m 10 miles out and so are all my kids, so the idea is not to stick around for the looting and pillaging.. I’ll rent the uhaul and we all will pack up as much preps as we can and go.

    I really think #2 is the most likeliest reason to leave my home but I won’t leave out a #4… scariest perhaps of all … Just three miles north of Downtown St. Louis is a chemical factory complex.. one of the largest manufacturers of chemical products in the USA. I used to work there and it’s different coming to work at a place like that, where you have to have a badge to get within 2 city blocks of the place and then you are greeted with a sign that says “XXXX Many Hours since the last accident”. Not days or weeks or months.. but HOURS!

    Let’s increase the paranoia, while I was working there, I watched over the computers in a sealed airtight safe room – if the alarm was to go off, I was to stay put and live on the canned air in the room. Well, that really did happen while I was there and my boss while wearing a gasmask put a piece of paper up against the glass of my cage that said, “Stay there, you are safer inside. Don’t open the door until you hear all clear.” Ok, I thought, I’ll do just that. Fortunately, the leak was vented about 100 feet in the air. St.Louis didn’t even rate a warning because “we don’t want to panic people unneccessarily”.

    Now.. doesn’t that give you pause? 🙂

    But.. even so, we’ll all be bugging in unless one of those four happen

  21. blindshooter says:

    Here I sit eating in a restaurant 100 miles from home reading Md’s article. It would take a disaster that would leave the whole area I live in uninhabitable to force me to run. I do have good friends in other parts of the country that would put me up temporarily but I’d have to make my own way pretty quick. So its stay home for anything but the event that would poison the whole area. I have more concern about getting caught out on the road while working and not being able to get home. I am fortunate to have family and good friends close to me that I can depend on and the reverse is true as well, it would be very hard for me to abandon all that and run.

    Its good to read how others veiw this question, I can’t imagine anyone that puts any thought to it would think running for the woods is a good idea unless they already live in the woods.

  22. Luddite Jean says:

    I’m intending to bug-in except in certain situations, one of which is flooding – I’m on the coast and only 15 feet above sea level, and for that reason I have a little RV with food/equipment for 2 weeks (and coffee for 4 weeks, lol).

    • Had to laugh at the coffee comment. Here’s a woman with her priorities straight!

    • templar knight says:

      Jean, a coffee lover and an RV owner? The perfect woman!

      • My daughter(LMI), while helping sort through preps and purchases simply said “Dad, no more coffee…there’s no more room”.

        • That’s funny – my dh said the same thing! Except he didn’t call me “dad.” :~)

          God bless,
          Opportunity Farm
          NE WA

  23. Legion7 says:

    My bug out bag is simply to get home. I’m staying put. Where I live is quite well situated, 2 creeks on the property, deer etc. My biggest problem right now is my elderly parents are offering me their 4000 square foot house, completely paid for. It’s on 2 acres but with neighbors nearby. Both places have large gardens, but the parents place doesn’t have surface water, and is on a group well. I could take the money I save on house payments and build everything I want, stock up more, and also go completely solar and put in a well. Still working it through…

  24. The best plan is to keep all your options open.

    Bug-in, bug-out these are not mutually exclusive terms. If its really the TEOTWAWKI then my Bug Out location is strategically better situated for long term survival, not in the wilderness, but in a much less densely populated local where locals grow food and animal life is abundant to be shot and eaten. This being said, I am not enthusiastic about becoming a refugee with the thousands of other (unprepared) people who decide we better get out of dodge. Its 4 hours by truck on open roads to my fall back location. Please note all the conditional statements in that sentence: “4 hours,” if I have the means of transportation available to me today; “By truck,” if my truck works and I have fuel for it; “On open roads,” assuming that smokies aren’t the only thing impeding my gas pedal. I am not crazy about the idea of walking all or even part of 200 miles (a 20 day walk with provisions and arms), especially not when there are thousand of starving people all around me who didn’t prepare for the SHTF.

    If I read the signs well and am able to bug-out before the SHTF then this is the optimal outcome. Then when the SHTF I will be bugging in to my retreat rather than bugging out of my home.

    If the SHTF and there is a mob on the streets maybe I bug in at my primary residence. Hopefully my provisions and arms can keep me safe until the rule of law is restored or until enough people die so that I can make my way safely to my fall back location.

    If the SHTF involves a pandemic or chemical or nuclear debris then bugging out after the incident could be a death sentence even if you get to your bug out location.

    But if the SHTF is a severe disaster localized to my area then bugging in could have the same result.

    My point is that my plan is to try to keep myself informed about what the situation is that I am responding to, this means intelligence gathering for lack of a better term. I plan to try to stay ahead of the mob at all costs and if I can’t, to try to get well behind them and let them clear a path of destruction for me.

    Sadly the SHTF means that there is no safe option. Option>S< (note the S), good judgement, and intelligence are the keys to survival.

  25. One more thing about having options.

    I will say one thing I recommend for those who are able is developing a network, either privately or with a group, of locations, from friend’s homes to hotels, hostels, schools, etc., that will allow you to bug-out should you have to and give you alternate short term (defensible) rest stops as you relay your way to your final destination. These should not be places where the masses will think of to pillage food, but ideally would be places where you might know there are supplies to be had that others might overlook. They are places that you have scouted out and could feel relatively comfortable defending.

    If you have to bug out, particularly over a long distance as I would, having the option of stopping and possibly bug-in to these rest stops might be the thing that saves your life.

    Also, if you find yourself unable to proceed by car these rest stops would provide you an idea location to cache extra supplies that you just can’t carry.

  26. Everyone is trained to get home. I’ve told my wife I will get home no matter what, and if no one is there, I will assume they’ve gone to the family homestead. These are the only options. It is a plan, not a belief in wilderness survival.

    I think some of the problem here lies in so many people using terminology that many of us think of us “standardized” where newcomers would consider it generalized. “Bug Out Bag” is an example. I always refer to it as my B.O.B., but it’s actually a GHB. I didn’t know there was a difference when I started prepping.

    In short, not having a specific, predetermined plan and location is a bad, bad thing. Wilderness Survivalism is more of a dream for the majority than it is a reality. Even seasoned campers and woodsmen are going to encounter challenges they could not imagine when everyone is running for the hills.

  27. We already live in our place in the woods and have invested a considerable amount of time and money in being as self- sustainable as possible. We’re staying here because there are no viable options for this MA resident to bug out. The last place I’d want to be is on the MA Pike, or other major routes. My sons live 60 miles east of us and they know alternate routes to get here.

  28. Patriot Farmer says:

    All my preparations, storage and weapon/ammo purchases are geared to riding out any situation at home. I have family members with physical disabilities so bugging out has never been an option for me.

  29. mountain lady says:

    My plan is to bug-in. I just don’t have another move left in me, so here I stay. I have made peace with my maker and it is up to him as to whether I live or die. We have 2 guns and will not go easily, but I am not running into to woods. At my age, I may live a few days more, but I trust God to keep me safe here, if it is meant to be.

  30. Years ago, as my graduation present for high school, I took an outdoor survival course; we spent ten summer days in the Absaroka Mountains with little extra food and just the bit of other stuff we could carry. I was 18 years old, in reasonable shape, and didn’t carry any extra weight. I lost a pound a day. We had rice, beans, flour, a bit of sugar, and what we could trap or catch. We ate frog, porcupine, and ground squirrel with a bit of wild celery and strawberries that we in season. Shelter was a blanket. The only warmth was a fire kept going all night. We weren’t trying to hide. No one wanted what little we had. I can look back on it fondly because it had a beginning, an end, and candy bars at the Flagg Ranch on the way home. If you don’t have a firm location, stocked with supplies, and a knowledge that someone else hasn’t gotten there first, then home is a better place.

  31. Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

    Seems to be several newbies here today – that’s great! Glad to know more people are getting into the preparedness mindset.

    Bugging in, unless my home is destroyed or the neighborhood is overrun or contaminated.

    I know one thing for absolute fact – no way am I going to a FEMA “shelter” or any other governmnet ”camp.” Absolutely no way am I willingly putting my safety in the hands of the government, particularly a government that may very well be instrumental in the troubles we could face. NO WAY IN HELL!!!

    • blindshooter says:

      Lint, like I’ve said before, most of my prepping is to avoid those situations. I have seen what happens when lots of folks have no place to go and the .gov “helps” them. Fema trailer camps after hurricane Floyd were breeding grounds for crime and for some disease as well. Most of the people that stayed in the trailers for any length of time were the ones that thought living like that on the .gov teat was better than what they had before the storm. Took years to get some of them out of the trailers. Everybody should prep to avoid getting caught up in that mess.

      • You want a historical idea of FEMA camps ? Look up Andersonville . It was a POW camp run by the Confederates .

        • Annie Nonymous says:

          Or Manzanar or Tule Lake out in California… the .gov’s solution to their percieved enemy is WW2, never mind they were US citizens… And farm & ranch and business owners, productive members of society… Good thing there were banks there to buy their proprty and business at 5 cents on the dollar… so they could be “evacuated” in a week…

          And they still have areas where camps can be built by “inmate labor” to house them…

        • templar knight says:

          A better example would be the Union prison camp in Elmira, NY. As was not the case in Andersonville, the authorities in Elmira had access to resources that could have saved the lives of prisoners there. The Confederate soldiers didn’t eat much better than the prisoners at Andersonville, and a large part of the South was in a famine. There were no resources to feed the prisoners, and Lincoln refused to exchange them even when numerous offers to do so were made. I suppose he had his reasons.

    • GAdixiedarlin says:


    • That’s exactly what the government in the US & UK will want! They don’t or wouldn’t want us running amok (being free!) so internment camps are a distinct possibility, they will be marketed as a ‘safe haven’ for us though, even although it would be the exact opposite!
      This is actually one reason for bugging out (so they wont find you in your house when they come to get you) as opposed to heading for a pre-arranged/pre-built place (as I have). Lessons are to be learned from history, like the Nazi herding of the Jews etc.

    • On the ‘bug out/in’ scenario I would defo bug out (unless the authorities were ‘on it’ and martial law had been declared!). The reason being is the following, see what you guys think and any feedback /improvements would be welcomed.

      Myself and a few others who stay in the dense city of Edinburgh, Scotland (which is not the picture postcard views you probably all think Scotland is!) have built a fairly large cabin on land which we all split the expense on, it’s a ‘WTSHTF’ scenario retreat.
      This land is a good few hours travel (2 hrs in a 4×4 on seldom used back roads and farm tracks) into a heavily wooded and mountainous region of Scotland. With a hidden reservoir that cant be seen from any roads.
      We all believe that when the social structure of the UK and US collapse ,which wont be far off –that the powers that be WILL NOT want self -sustained survivors with free wills…..they will want all of us under their control, internment camps are not a far fetched situation ! Remember and learn from history and the clearing of the Jews from their homes by Nazis. Extreme I know but better prepare for worst case scenario! No?
      When the powers that be come looking for stragglers we believe we have constructed the ideal survival and evasion situation.

      The cabin is a one story log built affair, on the roof is 2 foot of grass turf and plants/flowers matching the surrounding terrain(for insulation as well as camouflage), anyone searching from the air will find the cabin harder to detect this way and the 2 foot of turf etc on the roof will also help muffle our heat signatures…..we have another solution to this though which is the secret behind the ‘cabin’.

      The ‘cabin’ is located around 30 metres from the edge of the forest in a small clearing……another 15m into the forest is a hidden steel hatch with turf and undergrowth secured to it so it is hidden, which when opened is a sliding steel ladder going down 10-15m. At the foot of the ladder is a secure room around 6m x 8m clad in steel and plaster/insulation board sheets (to keep the damp down and regulate the heat,we have a de-humidifier also) which is basically a storage room/safe room and armoury.
      Through a ballistic, locking steel door(which wasn’t cheap!) ,the passage continues at an upwards gradient towards the ‘cabin’.
      At the end of the passage is another sliding ladder with a sliding steel trap door at the top. The secretive part is the entry to this sliding door!

      Entry to the passage,armoury/store room/secure room beneath our feet and towards the relative safety of the forest (we are working on ducting at the moment) is concealed behind an extremely heavy bookcase which only opens when opened in the correct way by means of a folding cantilever method, on steel tracks.
      When the bookcase is opened you are basically behind a false wall with the sliding steel trap (lockable from the underneath)to you’re left and 2 automatic weapons (1 x MP5 & 1 x AK) on the wall to your right…….just in case we are caught in the act of going underground or coming out!
      We also have just purchased 4 high power (400 FPS.) compound crossbows with opening broad head ,20″ bolts and a dedicated barrel for 8mm steel ball bearings -here is a decent site with all sorts of crossbows and remember, they are now LEGAL in the UK (apart from the broad head bolts,which are legal to own but illegal to cock……go figure!) http://www.crossbows4u.co.uk/#/tac-15i/4539167169

      We thought that any ‘officials’ searching for secret doors etc would expect them to be under the rug on the floor and directly beneath the cabin, so we did put a trap door into the floor which is immediately visible when the rug’s moved, below is a very small,crudely dug out ‘room’ which holds tools etc…….why not give them something in hope they just leave.

      If you stumbled across the ‘cabin’ you would just see a semi run-down looking loners or hunters cabin with a small veg garden and shed containing two goats and a chicken coop along with a rooster and 5 hens (good layers a must!)……..this is somewhat for appearances but also the practical use of milk,eggs and perhaps meat if necessary although we have began to accumulate dried and tinned foods (4 pallets of various so far) in a roughly dug out room beneath the animal shed and also what’s in the actual cabin. Although we are accomplished trappers, fishermen and hunters…..this is prime Deer country for hunting and squirrel and mink for trapping, there’s a good river nearby with a decent head of Trout and Pike as well as course fish like Roach and Perch…….protein shouldn’t be hard to come by.

      We are toying with the idea of setting up a silent alarm on a 360 basis……. being tripped when an led perimeter ‘tripwire’ is broken setting off an alarm worn on a receiver on each of our belts, set at a fairly large distance of perhaps 40-50m from the cabin. The distance being large so as we have time to get below ground leaving nobody home, apparently.

      This is a work in process but we think it’s going fine, it’s not finished and we have items to add such as SW radio, receiver and broadcaster.Obviously with the actual equipment below ground with an antenna hidden somewhere in the forest?
      Any suggestions would be completely welcome……..water for drinking is not a problem as there is a large river and reservoir nearby (which is one reason we chose the location).
      Some early warning system would be an advantage apart from our alarms on our belts……I would love CCTV but I don’t know were to hide the screen in the cabin as we don’t want anyone to think there is TV or Internet etc. The cameras could be hidden in trees ,painted camo and kept small……..it’s the screen itself?

      Any ideas please?

      Thanks again for allowing me to share my solution for the times ahead, I’m not saying this is a feasible project for everyone, we were lucky in that the ground was mostly clay and rotted mulch so was not too hard to dig were we wanted.
      Another article on this site said ,”It’ll be easier and more secure to travel at night…….” which makes sense. When that day comes ,my cabin and it’s additions will be a weight lifted from my shoulders and keep me and mine safe from whatever the world’s turned into!

      WARNING; Don’t go excavating deep tunnels ,rooms etc as it is ‘extremely dangerous’, I am lucky in that my brother is a structural engineer so there are weight bearing wood beams in the correct places shoring the walls and roof up safely! I have plans if any ones interested.
      Thank you……..Mikey.

      • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

        Yes, I’m interested in seeing the plans. You must be a very wealthy person. I am not, but I’d like to see the plans nonetheless. How do you power your retreat cabin?

      • I’d like to see the plans too.

        Roughly where you are talking about is one of the places where I was looking at. I have relatives there. The only problem I have is that having moved down South a long time ago I might find the climate a tad cold. I have to plan my visits for mid summer so I only have to wear my Artic survival gear. That made me favour The Lake District and North Wales. Still colder than the ex wifes heart but nowhere near as cold as Scotland.

      • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

        Mikey, you sound a lot like Jason/Steve. I really have a hard time believing your whole retreat cabin description. Why don’t you know the length of the ladder into the subterranean room? How can you build such a large underground room without tipping off the heavy equipment operator to your plans? Why have you no plans for power? I smell a rat.

        • Annie Nonymous says:

          I want to know how do you do auto weapons in a country that has a zero-firearm policy? You need a permit to buy and use a shotgun… and you’re blathering on the web you have an AK and an MP5?

          Plus all the opsec you don’t have… otherwise it wouldn’t be here (or anywhere else on the web)… which can be traced too damn easy, anonymizer or not.

          yeah, something jsut doesn’t sound “right”… If this is anywhere near factual (which, sadly, I kinda doubt) I sure am glad you’re NOT part of my prep group.

  32. You spend all that precious time, slowly building that cheap-ass homestead that Mr. Creekmore has advised us for years. And you want to bug-out if TSHTF? Sure, it should be an option, but it’ll be best if you hunker down until it is no longer an option, considering all your resources are there. If it comes to where you have to leave (e.g. flood wipes out our junk land, huge ass methane explosion creating a hole from reopening the mine on that junk land, etc.), then you should.

  33. One article I would like to see is the psychological problems and stress of ‘ Bugging In ” . If your cooped up by yourself or with a group , the close quarters of almost solitary confinement will have to be delt with . In a rural area , not so much , but in an urban area , your movement will be limited ( and dangerous ) . The Navy screens people psychologically for the submarine service …… its not for everybody . Tips on how to deal with confinement would be helpful to this community . I would volunteer but am not qualified 😉

  34. Just took a toll of the 33 comments that were up when I took it.
    Seems 23 are staying put.
    2 have bo plans
    6 of them I could not tell what they were going to do.
    And either I skipped some or they didn’t comment on in or out.
    But interesting that almost 7o per cent are staying put.

  35. Larry B. says:

    I am going to stay at home.

    In my humble opinion, the US is already in a slow motion SHTF scenario. The economic part is slowly sliding down that slippery hill, the flooding in the Midwest, the drought in the southwest, not to mention all the tornadoes etc. that are raging just now. Hurricane season comming up, an executive branch of the government that is openly hostile to the will of the people. (Remember Arizona?) Gun control “below the radar” as our president is doing here:


    We are having sever monetary problems, and none of our national leaders can stop from spending money and sending money.
    The way I see it, if we don’t get our country back in shape, we will simply slide into SHTF territory. We need to really take a close look at whom we vote for, not just the party.


    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Thanks for the link, Larry. I think the last line in that article is the most important:
      “Remember, for liberals, the laws don’t apply to them when something doesn’t go their way.”

      Maybe it’s time the defenders of the 2nd Amendment take a page out of the liberal handbook and play by similiar “rules”??

      • sheri (IN) says:

        Good link. I think they know their time is growing short in DC. I don’t trust any of them, especially our Commander in Thief!

        I was listening to Mike Church this week on Satelite radio and he was discussing the new “add-on” ( I believe to the Patriot Act renewed this week). It supposedly gives our so called Prez the free and clear to bomb anyone he sees fit without going through Congress ( I haven’t looked it up yet for details) One of his guests said it does not exclude his own country….and that would be us! After he said (right after being elected) we needed a “military style” force in the US besides the real military, I was waiting for him to seek this type of power. Something tells me his “party” doesn’t plan to go quietly in 2012. He has something up his sleeve and I don’t think it’s his arm….

        As far as BO or BI, I will stay put as long as possible. The BOV is ready to go just in case. I live in a somewhat rural area and prefer to hold out as long as I can. It would depend on the crisis.

        Be alert everyone. Something is coming…..and soon.

    • Tomthetinker says:

      To whom it may concern…. and those taking notes in Parkersburg WV. I have given away all of my firearms and ammunition to people I frankly don’t know with the exception of one 40 year old single shot 16 ga. for which I have no source of ammunition. I have also retained a selection of claw hammers and and garden tools for local crowd control while doling out my only bucket of mixed beans and any fresh onions and potatos I may have available.

      • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

        ROFLMAO! Yeah, me too. I have no use for firearms so I have thrown them into the recycling bin at the dump. Never did have any ammo, knowing that it can be a “hazardous” material and didn’t want OSHA on my back. Move along, nothing to see here.

    • Problem is Larry , the 2 party system never worked . If you had at least 4 parties , it would make being in one irrelevant as nobody would have enough power to control anything . Our vote doesn’t count either ….. an illusion until the electoral college is done away with . Best we the people can hope for is that the US breaks up into smaller nations . No more global interference . Clean slate .

      • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

        T.R., I have to disagree with you. Many people don’t understand the concept of the Electoral College. Without it, the three most populous states would control every presidential election. The other 47 states wouldn’t even need to vote because the 3 largest ones would dictate who becomes president in each election. Instead, the Electoral College spreads some of that voting power between the states so that an outright power grab cannot be made. Our Founding Fathers knew what they were doing. http://www.uselectionatlas.org/INFORMATION/INFORMATION/electcollege_history.php

        Additionally, the multiparty system isn’t so hot, either. Just look at Britain and you’ll see what I mean. Our 2-party system worked well for a couple hundred years. It was when the unions became wealthy and therefore exceptionally powerful that the 2-party system got hijacked. Far more powerful than any business, the government service unions run this country.

        • I respectfully disagree with the 2 party system , Most of europe has a multi party system and as a result , the parties themselves are of little importance , but they give the people REAL choice for candidates , and forces the government in general to focus more on the issue instead of party infighting . You mentioned Briton , I would love to see what the british people have over here , and that is , the people can force an election AT ANY TIME , to get rid of an unpopular prime minister , not sure if the same holds true with the house of lords and commons . Bush would not have completed a second term , and this Monkey would be gone by now as well if we had that here . We are as bad as Mexico politically .

          • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

            IF you like the British system so much, there is a simple answer for you – move there.

            • just sayin , personal attacks are not called for by tellin people to not see what works elsewhere and not try to fix it here and move . I disagree and if ya dont like it or cant discuss rationally because somebody dares to differ with you , dont make it my problem ! This system is broken and it needs to be put back into the hands of the people ! My reply was just simply polite discussion no need to get your frilly pink panties in a wad ! My family has been here sense the 1680’s , how bout YOURS ? We both have a right to criticize , dont try to take my part of it away .

            • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

              T.R. You have no clue what goes on in Britain, that’s obvious by your comments. You made the inane statement that Europeans don’t have a strong attachment to their political parties – that is crapola. I know many British and French nationals living in this country who have told me countless times how much they support one candidate over another and hate the winners in their homelands because their side cannot win an election due to the same thing you point to as a rationale for the multiparty system – nobody gets a clear majority. That is not a bonus, that is a problem because then the vast majority of the people don’t have a representative at all, they have to settle for a guy who gets 30% of the vote or sometimes (as is true in Britain today) they have to share the power with another party. That is good if you want total stalemate, but not much good for making real changes.

              As far as how long my family has been in America, since 1634 – with documentation to prove it. And they didn’t sneak in, either. As far as the color of my underwear…well that remains my little secret. ;P

            • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

              Oh, forgot the most important part. You are correct, we both have every right to criticize. But only one of us knows what’s really going on in the world.

            • Wyoming Evie says:

              ….and now we see WHY it’s nearly impossible to get anything done anywhere!! it’s because man”kind” would rather be right, and argue to the death about it. than let the political and religious stuff go and keep it to YOURSELF, and work TOGETHER to make things better. I will never understand why we all just can’t follow the one rule…The Golden Rule, and forget the rest of the crap. By the way…all governments are greedy, money grubbing suckers and if you really believe that voting changes anything, then i have some really NICE land down in Mississsippi I would love to show you. …..and they wonder why I am a hermit. *sigh*

          • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

            Evie, weren’t you just trying to sell some land to us a while ago? How’s that make you a hermit? Yes, votes count. Why else would Obama want a billion dollars for his re-election campaign? He doesn’t need that much money for donuts and coffee. The politicians only send out “updates” about their “work” to their constituents when it’s election time. More proof that votes count.

            Don’t wade in the pool if you don’t want to get wet.

          • TR,

            I live in the UK. Let me tell you your clowns and our clowns are not that different. All are useless and self serving career politicians.

            The people cannot force an election at any time to get rid of an unpopular PM. If it was so we would have elections every three months. They are all unpopular. They have manipulated the justice system, welfare system and health system for their own ends. Our current PM and his deputy just wanted power and had no idea what to do with it. They went back on the cuts and the repeal bill, for ‘good’ reasons of course and instead make things worse.

            They had a web site. Vote for the laws you want repealed. Smoking ban was top by some margin, allowing self defence with guns was there, death penalty is popular. It just vanished but they are taking our views into account. LOL. They are extending the smoking ban already. So much for power of the people.

            They have;
            Reintroduced slavery via their welfare system
            Used accounting practises that any private or corporate individual would have gone to jail for
            Destroyed an excellent pension system
            Lied about almost everything. I would have said all but one politician said his rosette was blue. It was.
            Destroyed our economy with inept management
            Destroyed the publics trust in plod by using them as enforcers of their values
            Destroyed the justice system by using it to persecute car drivers and old ladies putting something in the wrong bin
            I have more but I only have so many characters.

            I would guess your country isn’t far behind ours. We have just been socialist in nature for that much longer.

            Our voting actions are tribal, our education system no longer produces thinkers among the masses and people are gullible. They believe the promises, time after time after time after time….. It is beyond belief.

            Don’t come to the UK. We all want out. Anyone over there got a job for an IT guy?

        • Actually the system was hijacked in 1913 with the passage of the 17th amendment, allowing direct election of senators. Prior to that amendment, the senators were appointed and beholding to the individual state legislatures, who are more directly beholding to the citizens of the state. Screw your state and the legislature could and would recall you. Now they are elected at large with tons of campaign money coming from out of state.

  36. we’re bugging in. we have a 2 acre garden, 3 acre pond with 10 wooded acres. fortunately, we’ve been prepping for several years. unless the new madrid fault or the weekly tornados gets us we are staying in arkansas.

  37. sheeple_no_more says:

    My first level of preparedness is to bug in. That gives me security, food water and a team of neighbors to work with. Once I have everything on plan for that. I move onto planning to relocate to a relatives home if we can’t stay here. Lastly, I will make the needed setup to bug out to the boonies. But living in the wood with family is a whole lot different than a camping weekend.

  38. My short answer is: Bug in until it’s time to bug out.

    Long answer is: It would depend on circumstances. Like the US, the Canadian Government is useless at anything other than feathering their own nests and throwing a few bones to the peons, so paying attention and being prepared for all eventualities is a necessity.

  39. personally, the term bug-out is not a very good term. To me it needs to be called a refugee bag. That way the extreme reason to use it, will be on your mind before you pack it or use it.
    Take some time a search out(goggle) what the life and strugles of a refugee is realy like.
    I also have to look back at my Airborne days. We were in great shape, healthy and motivated when we went into the field. At the time, I thouhgt we could live out of a ruck for weeks or months at a time. As I grew older, the reality of living out of a ruck was very limited. You see for everyone of the combat troops you have in the field, you will have 7-9 logistics men not in the feild to be mission ready. logistics is the key in the military and in prepping. Now if the rock hard, green faced warriors needs 7-9 logistics men backing them up, how do prepprs think we know something the military does not or will be able to live in the woods without help over time.
    A refugee’s life is misery, pain, tired and very stressfull. I will take my chances with my preps almost everytime.

    • howdy neighbor, I like your angle on that. I have been studying this “ruck life” military analogy also.. What I have figured is that the modern warrior is anything but self-sufficient. I have some reports somehwere analyzing the load-out of today’s soldier. It was huge ! Armies throughout all of history have depended on supply lines – today even more so. A survivor is not a soldier and has no military objective and mostly does not have to move in synch with others to meet objectives. To truly live outof a ruck indefinitely, one has to have the knowledge and wits of a frontierman/mountain man /Indian – understanding also even those folks forayed into towns and villages occasionally for re-supply or trade and “company”.. I enjoy studying and practicing these old ways (E.g. Nessmuk) as well as being proficient the modern. And like the MountainMan, a man living out of a ruck will make significant use of caching. They are still digging up old mountain man caches here and there.

  40. Wyoming Evie says:

    FINALLY many other people are making the SAME argument I have been making for years for STAYING PUT and defending your already prepped and outfitted homestead, rather than following some lame brain (as was said earlier) “Batman in the Boonies” scenario if at ALL possible.

    My situation is dire, in the best of times. Trying to find like minded people to team up with is tricky when you are a virtual recluse in the boonies to begin with. I am open to anyone who would like to explore relocating to Wyoming in what I believe is a pretty safe and defendable place…..contact me for details.

    Best of luck to us all; the metaphoric waters, they are a risin and getting deeper by the day.

  41. Staying put! We may relocate to our cabin on the same property because its smaller and easier to heat. I’m also converting it to solar over the next few months… Our farm would have to become uninhabitable for us to leave. This is where the family gathers and makes a stand. We do not leave, we defend!

  42. RobNPhx says:

    Bugging-out is probably not an option for my family and I unless it is an actual life-or-death “have to go” scenario. I have older (in there 80’s) relatives that are too dear and too close to leave behind and to the mercy of “whatever.” Additionally, they are far too frail to endure any sort of hard travel, so it would have to be a cataclysmic event that threatens my immediate family (wife/kids) before I could ever seriously entertain walking away from the old folks. Besides, like many of you have also stated, I have all the provisions and fortifications I hope to need right here at home base. I’m a former infantryman and SERE school graduate, but I doubt much of that would do me as much good as I might think, especially if I’m tasked with caring for multiple elderly and the untrained healthy. Survival at home odds are just plain better in most instances.

  43. Married 31 years come this Sunday, my wife and I have been “prepping” from the git-go mainly because I was raised on some sizable dirt and a “4-H Kid”, as well being one of those youngsters who was always carrying a .22 rifle around. My wife-to-be had the interest and desire when I met her, but with zero-training from her parents I became a “teacher” as well as a husband.

    About the time I met her I had already concluded that this system was inherently flawed and that when it crashed it would be like something the world had never seen. All it took for her to come around completely was seeing grocery store shelves emptied in 1982 one day after a blizzard and stay that way for a week. I simply posed the “What if these never got restocked?” question, and the more children we had the more intent upon the learning and mastery of necessary skills she became.

    Unlike most folks, we both were quite willing to give up what we call “the easy life” of secure jobs (at least back then) in the cities and suburbs, opting for as close to a self-sufficient lifestyle as possible deep in the Rocky Mountains. My nature was to live and work in the woods anyway, so for me it was welcoming. For her it was the penchant for adventure as well as the reminder of those empty shelves after that blizzard.

    As time passed, we kept moving north by northwest, from 8 acres to 20 acres to finally in the middle of nowhere surrounded on all sides by a national forest with a year-round creek for drinking water, irrigation and our hydroelectric plant. We’ve “Bugged In” in a “Bug Out” place, and have been for almost twenty years now. We grow and raise 80% of what we consume, hunt and fish, homeschool(ed) the kids (two now honors graduates from well-known universities with the third carrying a 4.0 in computer engineering. The fourth lad is still under our academic charge.)

    Note the twenty years. Cabin first and then improvements. Designing and building the hydroelectric system. Picking enough rock out of what became the garden to built the Great Wall of China with. Building the irrigation system. Fencing for the livestock and fencing the garden to keep the critters out. Building the barns and the shop. Learning how to do everything ourselves, together, hand in hand. That’s “Bugging Out”. Saying goodbye to a system that is rotten to its core. Anything else is running away

    What passes for “Bugging Out” in survival circles today is borderline insanity. What are you going to do? Toss in what you have in the camper-shell covered bed of the old 4X4, grab yer guns and head to the hills? And then what? Unless you really, and I mean really know exactly how to survive out there, you will die of starvation, giardia, snakebite, broken this or that, and if you manage to get through all that, come winter you will freeze to death. Period. I live here and know of what I speak. Below zero at night for months and sometimes down to minus 30. Let me put it this way – you will die once you run out of what you brought, particularly once the winter sets in. The “learning curve” is steep and terminally unforgiving.

    “I’ll just shoot and elk or a deer and live in a snow cave!” Really? After a week it won’t be worth eating, and if you can’t can it, dry it or freeze it (and the latter requires power), you’re screwed. If you aren’t off the grid making your own electricity you cannot can or freeze anything. And anyone who believes they can live just off meat is deluded anyway. You’ve got big, big problems all of a sudden, and instead of running to the woods, “bugging in” with all the proper preparations is going to have been the far smarter choice of action. Snowcave? For how long? Brought those snowshoes and enough firestarter for how long? When that hatchet handle goes, where is the wood going to come from beginning in October and lasting through May. (It’s snowing here as I type and it’s May 26th.)

    You will run out of all that “stuff” you brought with you and when that deer is infested with maggots, then what? You are going to become a thief and a murderer. That “other” behavior will become an inevitability, and 99.99% of folks out here already know and expect that that is exactly what will happen from those who “Bug Out.” When that becomes your choice of action, guess what? You are going to get shot and deservedly so. Everyone “out here” is already expecting “The Golden Horde”, so even when you “bug out” to your location of choice you had best expect an unwelcoming committee.

    Harsh, but true. Rural life is tough by its very nature and people do without simply because of the fact that rural is rural. What is here is always in short supply, be it food in the grocery stores, hardware, medical, etc. In “good times” often what you need is always “two weeks out” and you learn to not only stock up on everything from food and fasteners to fuel, and in my wife and daughters case, feminine hygiene products. The bottom line is that “out of the way” places cannot handle an influx of strangers, nor do they intend to welcome them. If commodities are no longer available in the cities, they weren’t available out here a week before.

    The only intelligent solution is to “Bug In.” Get storable food, water purification/filtration devices, as much firewood as you can store, medical kits, “personal protective gear” (if you get my drift) in more than adequate quantities, kerosene lamps, master gardening techniques NOW, learn to can food, and maybe toss some solar panels on the house as well. By all means, try to enlighten your neighbors (if at all possible). As circumstances continue to deteriorate, talking over the fence is going to be far more productive than it would have been five or ten years ago. Even the “soccer moms” and their beta husbands are ill at ease now, so a little conversation can go a long way in the current where just a couple years back it would have fallen on deaf ears. Having the neighborhood get its act together can go a long way towards survival, and God knows, there might even be some shared talents! Create community when there is still time, making that “Hunkering Down”, “Bugging In” idea a functional, viable choice.

    • gartersnk says:

      Very well stated, an article by itself. Thanks John . Bottom line for me – be very realistic about you can or can not do – bad choices can turn deadly very very quickly.

      • Great advice John! You write very well. To the point and no BS. Enjoyed your post! We are not as far off the beaten trail as I would like. They will come and we will have to defend what we have worked so hard to aquire. Your best point IMO for those of us with neighbors ” Create community while there is still time.” There is strength in numbers…

  44. Other than checking on my Mother in Law around the corner, we’re planning on staying in. First, this is our home. Second, we’re not in good enough shape to bug out for any length of time. We would do what we have to but we know we have to be realistic. I’ve put aside supplies to load in the vehicles if needed plus home supplies like most folks.
    Originally I had thought about bugging out but we had to look at what was really feasable…not much, unless its an emergency. We have a couple of places to go heading east that arent too far away but again, wife isnt going to leave her mother and I’m not going to leave her…so… hunker down and fortify. A man’s home is his castle right??

    • Re-reading my post I guess it would do to clarify “emergency”… a catastrophic event that would make staying in my own home impossible!

      • Been reading down thru the latest posts and just wanted to add our thoughts and prayers to the people of Joplin (and that whole area) who have suffered so much lately. We were watching the news and commenting on what kind of natural disasters we might have here in Nor Cal. (frankly I’m most concerned with wind and rain here) when the news reported three strong funnel cloud/tornados dropping down north of us. NOTHING like what other folks are going thru but a definite reminder not to take anything for granted.

  45. We are bugging in and hunkering down. The Gulf of Mexico is to the South and much larger population centers to the East, West, and North. We are too old with some medical issues to bug out. With our youngest and his family (also on board with prepping) less than three miles away we will pool resources and do what is necessary.
    We live in hurricane country and that is the only thing that might get us to leave as it would be temporary. In the past 30 years we have been thru two Cat 3 Hurricane direct hits , one Cat 4 near miss and numerous tropical storms and and a so what Cat 1. Only a direct hit by a Cat 5 will get us to consider leaving. With a hurricane if you don’t leave 48 hours or more before landfall, all the roads become parking lots and not the place to be riding out a storm. We have a plan with timelines to get the preparations done and leave if a Cat 5, or if we are staying. We have been through the hurricane drill numerous times. If you are prepared and don’t mind camping out in hot weather until the power grid is restored, things are manageable.

  46. After watching the destruction in Joplin, I just can’t imagine being able to stay with your property.
    All my preps are geared to bugging in and I have taken every precaution to try and save some of them from an earthquake. If that works then I certainly will stay if I am alive, but if every single prep is destroyed what can you do but leave.
    Regardless, I have prepared for both. I have made sure the means to rent an apt. in another city somewhere are available so I won;t have to try to sleep on a cot that might accommodate my foot if I was lucky.
    Any other situation like a financial crash I will stay period.
    The big worry is some Ahole coming along with a uniform and an automatic weapon telling me I have to leave.

  47. Bugging in. Too much food stuffs and gear for survival to move it out. Plus I pretty much think roads will be parking lots. If we did have to bug out for something like a fire, we’d pack the trailer with as much of the lighter weight food, (water filter, volcano stove) as we could and go the shortest distance possible with hopes of coming back as soon as possible. We have 2 tweens ( one with Down syndrome). Just can’t be wandering towards the “woods” where those folks are going to be on guard. Staying in we have what we need to survive as long as we can defend it. Got the guns and ammo, sleep in shifts… Kinda think it’s going to just continually get worse and worse, like boiling a frog. Not to get too religious, but the Bible says it will be like in the times of Noah. People will be marrying, eating and drinking… up until the flood. The masses have no clue anything is wrong. We’re Bugging in cause it’s the best we got.

  48. SrvivlSally says:

    I am ready for either and will act accordingly.

  49. Technically we plan to bug in, though we are hoping to have our house sold in the next four months and move away from the city. If it looked like teotwawki then I would bug out to a relatives house. But for the tornadoe we dragged all the important stuff into the bathroom (which has no windows) and bunked down til the sirens went off. I’m calling most storms practice runs. They test how prepared you are.

  50. Under the radar in ND says:

    We just went thru a mini-SHTF here – late spring blizzard – 67 hours without power – no travel for a couple of days. Bottom line for our family – Ho Hum! We were prepared with plenty of food (ended up eating like royalty because we had to clean out the freezer – steak every night), candles/oil lamps, blankets, books, etc. All it meant to us was going to bed earlier, wearing heaver clothes and grilling by flashlight. Short term – hunker down but be prepared.

  51. gartersnk says:

    Live in the boonies, in the foothills of the mountains. only likely disaster would be a hit from a tornado in which case I won’t likely need my supplies. Otherwise any other SHTF scenario, I’m staying put. Lots of previous comments on why that is the best choice.

    God bless us all

  52. otter ridge says:

    bugging-in i know my surrounding and will be better off so to protect the family.

  53. We often talk about bugging out as an escape from our homes, but I think it might be done for different reasons. Maybe you need a bag packed and ready because TS has HTF and a family member is away from home and needs to be retrieved / rescued – or you are heading to out to pick up/rescue Great Aunt Elsie 100 mi. away. You just don’t know how long you could be gone or what you may face .. Just a thought. Good article.

  54. gary in bama says:

    Im bugging in . I know my backyard and neiborhood better than any one elses .Once you learn where the fruit trees nut trees and plantable clearings are you can come up with a game plan if TSHTF.If its a natural disaster it would have to be a tornado where im at. Aprils storms were only 5 miles from my home . me and my wife would be ok i was lucky my house has a 1950s bomb/storm shelter i didnt build it it was here when i bought the house.my survival stores are in the shelter and its got1foot of dirt 12inches of cement and a 3/16 inch lead plate in the roof. IM not going no where.WE are good in our hidy hole for a year or more.

  55. ……. from Joplin , Mo ……. it’s a real mess here. Apocalyptic.
    A lot of stuff to consider. Staying or going– depends on if the house is still habitable. Lots of looting. Need to be able to defend what’s yours.
    Walmart looted minutes after the tornado levelled it. Up side– thousands of volunteers streaming to Joplin to help. “Community” is def a big plus to consider post-SHTF.
    Glad I stockpiled stuff. Lost one of 5 grocery stores, one of 3 Walmart super centers. Remaining stores re-stocking then selling out everyday.
    Real eye-opener.Very tired, havent slept well since the tornado. Would like to write a more detailed essay– but someone else will prob be able to do it better and faster.
    I’ll maybe save it for the historians. Pray for us. Oh, and say a prayer for those Westboro Baptist idiots who are bringing their little show to Joplin on Sunday…. I predict a lynching.

    • Hank Hill says:

      Are they the cult that was predicting the rapture about a week ago?

      • They are the cult that demonstrates at all the soldiers’ funerals.
        I am so sorry about your town Jim G. This is the 1st I have heard about the looting. It is amazing the way the mainstream media eliminates something that important from their coverage.
        If you can would you tell us what aid organization is getting the best help to you?
        You all are in our prayers.

      • No, they are the cult that harass families trying to bury their sons and daughters who have died in the service of their country.

        • Im a member of the patriot gaurd and have had many encounters with the westboro baptist church. I have a video on my YouTube channel called “god hates westboro baptist church” I originally had footage of those freaks in my vid bur Shirley phelps (the lawyer/freak) threatened to sue me. I removed all footage un the video of the “church” and left nothing but the many thousands of flag waving people that came to support the grieving family. I removed all the comments from the vid also because the westboro baptist church and it’s members had completely taken over the comment section. Brad

      • Wyoming Evie says:

        That was the neanderthal, Harold Camping that predicted the “rapture” on the 21st. Somebody should tar and feather that guy.

        • tar and feather? Such tolerance. When these foolish wack jobs hit the 22nd and are still standing around with egg on their face, I think we can all say, “’nuff said”.

    • Luddite Jean says:

      Jim G, I’ve been praying for all the people of Joplin, but I will add your name to my personal list.

    • gary in bama says:

      JIm i think if you need rope a lot of us would send you plenty.Beware of the help the city and county offer. Here in alabama all the goverments are just looking out for their own revenue income in the future .As in homes or sales tax shopping centers.If you live in an area with lower home values and expect to build or repair it back to the way it was THINK AGAIN.stay on your property even if its in a scrap wood shed that way you can protect it from looters and the politions.THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE IS HOW THEY HERD SHEEPLE. good luck its a long road

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Jim G, so sorry about your troubles there in Joplin. I have been praying for your community.

      I am very interested in sending a donation DIRECTLY to a family in need. It won’t be much, but it will be something that might help them at this time. If you know of a family who would really appreciate a small check and will not spend it on booze or drugs, but will use it wisely, please let me know. I would prefer not to go through a charity since they always take so much off the top of the donations they receive.

      Please keep us updated. Take care and good luck.

  56. Bugging in, with the sole exception of Category 4 or higher hurricanes here in Florida. Have gone through 2 Cat 3 storms, and that is my absolute limit. Have gone through a number of Cat 2 storms, and a bunch of Cat 1 storms. Key is having galvanized steel shutters that I can put up in a matter of just a few hours, along with having pre-stored hurricane/bug-in supplies. During the prior Cat 3 storms, many locals in mandatory evacuation areas found themselves trapped on evacuation routes in their vehicles during the actual storms, from traffic jams caused by gasoline shortages. Bugging in far enough inland to not be at risk from storm surges meant I was behind galvanized steel shutters, instead of just automotive glass! It can take upwards of 24 hours to get off some barrier islands, in bumper-to-bumper traffic in parts of coastal Florida. If a storm moves fast, those barrier island folks are screwed. The fundamental precept is to plan ahead, and to know when to execute your plan. This includes the selection of where one builds their home, as well as the style of home they build, and the ease by which it can be secured during a hurricane, or, knowing when to leave if bugging out.

  57. We would bug in for natural disasters. We would bug out whenever there was wide spread civil unrest. We live on the edge of a city of over 600,000. Murders, rapes, car jacking, bank robberies, home invasions, and other crimes are common now. An economic collapse or other SHTF situation would result in violence. Then my wife and I, our daughters family, our best friends and their kids families would all bug out to the same place and support each other.

    • HandAxeProMan,

      Have you considered moving?

    • SrvivlSally says:

      If you can afford to do it now or soon, you might enjoy living on your own property away from all of that. You should visit: http://www.ar-realestate.net/By_County/by_county.htm
      Just click on the links that state the number of listings each has. I am currently buying 5 acres with water and electric for well under $15,000. I chose the size and price and the locale for a retreat could not be better as it is very remote. Applying for the Homestead Tax Exemption, your taxes, up to $350, will be paid which generally sit under that amount for most places. Counties may require a septic be installed prior to living on your land but if you buy a piece with a mobile then you would not have to worry about it. Once it’s paid for, you can sit back, relax and sit on your enclosed porch (to keep out the occasional viper) without the real threat of what you are currently dealing with every day. I once lived in a big city and I will never, ever return to such a place. The noises, diseases, rats, roaches, addicts, muggings, thefts, jackings and other stressors that go along with such an environment do not compare to a life out in the country, boondocks or whathaveyou.

  58. Only Me says:

    I’m on the Bugging In side of the fence as well. I’d rather deal with whatever comes from my home where all my preps (including gardens, plants, woods & water) are than try to live off land that isn’t familiar to me. I’m currently planting things to forage if needed – at least I know what it is and where ~ I like things that eliminate the guesswork. My luck on chancing a wild mushroom or plant identification just isn’t that good.

    As native New Englanders we are used to being stuck at home during blizzards & ice storms as well as knowing what traffic is like at rush hour on major roadways. We stay away from the highways at rush hour(s) & on holiday weekends. That being said there’s no way we’ll venture out to get stuck in a massive parking lot. All it takes is one accident or break down & we’d be wishing for the comfort of home.

  59. I would (as any rational minded ‘survivor would) take the disaster on it’s own ‘merits’, I do have a pre-built and secure place to go ,which I’ve wrote to you about before, but if you don’t NEED to go why put your closest through the trials of discomfort,exposure,hunger etc if you don’t ABSOLUTELY have to?
    The place I have pre-built is designed to hole up in, un-detected for a decent amount of time but as M.D said, you cant beat familiarity and home comforts, it would also do wonders for morale for old and young.

  60. Some people do not have an option. They cannot bug out.

    Those that can bug out and are planning for it must also plan for a backup of Hunkering down. They may not get enough warning to bug out. They may not be able to travel and be forced to stay at home. There could be a million reasons they can’t move.

    I’m a planner, it is my day job and one of the tasks is looking at risks. This is clearly a higher risk than some we prepare for and I talk about it extensivly on Survivaluk.net.

    I call it my Fallback. My last ditch plan and I prepare for both eventualities. I also look at moving to the bug out retreat when it is possible. In the meantime I need to survive where I am.

    If you fail to plan you plan to fail.

  61. Frank B says:

    We will be “Bugging in” but who can say exactly how this will all play out for each of us?

    Being a prepper means (to me) being prepared for any contingency. I play the “what if” game a lot. Maybe this is what keeps me in so much trouble. “What if” the SHTF when I am away from my fortress? All the stocking, planning, an secure goods would do me no good. This is why I keep a BOB in each truck in the ready for when I am away from home. Of course these would also be ready in the event I had to leave home. “What if” a tornado wiped out my home and scattered my stores to the wind? I’d make the best of what I could but, at least I’d have the stuff in BOB. A water filter, food, fire, and shelter would prove to be good items to have on hand. “What if” a helpful government agency showed up at my door explaining that I needed to surrender my goods for the common good? “What if” Seal team 6 showed up and wanted my stuff?

    There may come a time that you/we, may want the illusion of the non-threatening refugee over the look of a prepared survivalist.

    As the article states, making the correct decisions and timing can be everything. If you found yourself stranded with a large group of refugees, and you were the only one with a BOB, you might want to let the group move on down the road before you open those Twinkies. Or better yet, move yourself away from the masses in order to keep a level of security for yourself. I might let them move on first for a few days before I made my move towards my safe haven. It might prove to be a better move for me to find a dense forest, or a quiet but dense highway medium to set up a hidden camp and wait out the chaos. Let them clear the road and get a bit more worn-out before I made my move home.

  62. Papabear says:

    My wife cannot deal with any of the preps or options that are frequently discussed here. Part of it is health related and the other part is sheer denial. One or both sons would make their way here.

    Bugging in has a set of problems in itself. I live in a rural town (pop 8000) where the hordes would eventually come looking for food and supplies. Illegals (a.k.a. wets) walk through the area on their way to the big cities, often carrying drugs. They are vicious and think nothing of home invasion and of killing us. Don’t know if the town politicians would try a house to house search for food. Moving to a better place is not an option at this time.

    Bugging out means all is lost at the homestead, there is no going back. I would rather not be in that condition.

  63. Michael says:

    To be fair, I have not really heard of many folks discussing bug-out in the context of “head for the woods/nearest cave” but rather to another pre-determined, pre-setup location that will be more effective for: defense, sustainability (both for it and you/your clan), and is generally in a less traveled, more (or very) remote location.

    If you already live out of city limits on an acreage or farm, congratulations, bug-in is (likely) a terrific idea. If you live in high density housing district, bug-out (as I describe above) may be more desirable, presuming you can make it to your location in time to set in for . Ultimately, I think the decision of bug-out vs. bug-in is highly dependent on circumstance. I think the likelihood is that most readers here are already taking steps to make their primary location usable for a great many scenarios as well as for their every day life. My indication to that end is that virtually every response given so far has been “I am all set for bugging in”. I am too 🙂 But we should not preclude or detract from the need that some may have to make “bug-out” their main alternative.

    I would rather than discuss pro’s and con’s of various location types, what needs to be pre-positioned/setup in said location, frequency of use (after all, like anything else, training/usage is part of planning), etc.

    • DaveNV/AZ says:

      I plan to Bug out. In my travels I’m sometime 900 miles from my final bol. This is where all family members will attempt to get to. But where I am when the SHTF or TEOTWAWKI happens is stocked with 90 days of supplies for all members at that location. Myself I do not want to be trying to defend and survive at my location in Phoenix or Las Vegas or LA in the middle of summer with TSHTF. All those that plan on staying in those cities, or major cities like that, what do you hunt when supplies run out. How do you stay cool, or heat as needed. How do you defend against the massive hords that have not moved on or died off. Also defend against neighbors or local/ state/federal agencies that decide to gather up all foods and supplies to pass out on evenly. If your already out there away from this type of problems fine. If not bugging in may just be prolonging the end. Bugging out has a different set of problems but your out there and have a chance. I do not recommend bugging out just to the hills. Have a destination in mind and do some pre setup.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Michael, you have brought up a very good point. What does need to be pre-positioned at a BOL? Do those bugout locations need the same things that our homes need? Or is there a difference in what will be needed? I always assumed the two places would need the same stuff, but maybe the needs would be different. Anybody care to comment on the supplies needed for a BOL vs. the Homestead?

      • SrvivlSally says:

        The best I can do to answer your question is to use my BOL as an example of which will soon contain a cabin with a small steel military wood stove. Fire starters are a must, at least two per person. Bunk beds & cots. Guns with ample ammunition. Knives. Food stuffs that will last several people a long time and will not perish for many years. 2 soft but warm wool and 1 fleece blanket for each person that could be there. Filled food-grade water containers. Bicycles and other methods of cheap transport. Little lightweight pull carts for transferring wood and other things around the acreage. Clothing for layering and staying dry, waterproof shoes and thongs for when showering, sunglasses, basic medical supplies. Hooks, lines, sinkers, floats and scented attractants for fishing. Sprouting seeds and a small gardenening area with greenhouse plastic that can be set up when trying to get plants off to a good start. Pliers, grips and other helpful hand tools. Christmas tree saw with replacement blades and one or two of those chains that takes two hands pulling in a back and forth motion to cut branches. Nails and screws to secure ropes, buildings, tarps, etc. A few feet of gutter to direct water into a specific location for later collection. Just remember that to survive anywhere, you have to have water, food, shelter, fire starters or a way to make a fire by hand. Anything beyond that is pretty much a luxury which will help to enhance the survival experience. You want to be able to get through a tough time and if it lasts for a year or more then having the seeds to grow food would make life that much easier. Personally, I may opt for a run down travel trailer or large camper as the living quarters instead of building a cabin due to the expense of wood, permits and other things, clean it up and do whatever repairs it needs to make it halfway liveable, put an addition onto it like I learned to do some years ago for a wood stove and clothes drying area and make it as comfortable for everyone as is possible. I just got the land but it will not take long to make it into a nice little retreat. Nothing fancy but something that will allow everyone to stay alive and function in a moderately normal manner. With retreats, if you are not going to be there for months or only a few times a year, without any honest individuals which live nearby to keep an eye on it, going cheap is something you may want to consider. Also, driveways which are blocked with a log and/or have tall grass growing all the way down them will tell others that no one lives there or they have not been there in “who knows how long”. Around my present location, when a log has been thrown in the way or a rusty chain hangs across a driveway’s road near the entry point, grass or no grass, most assume that no one lives there. Not many are brave enough to venture into places like that anyway because there is no telling who might be “squatting”, on the run, not in their right mind, surviving, etc.

      • Well it depends on if you will be able to make the bug out retreat at some point from where you are, can the bug out retreat be secured or the stores buried where they will be unlikely to be found. Someone else may move in while you are gone especially if it takes a year to get there.

        I’m planning on having the same food, water, medicines at both locations. The rest depends on the location so each will be unique. For example your Bug out retreat may have a river close by so it will have some nets, fishing gear, where as my home is in the suburbs so they are of no use here but an air rifle for pigeons, rabbits , squirrels will be for hunting in the local park.

        Plan out for each area. How far away is your bug out location? Can you make trips back and forward? Work out if you can carry anything significant and if you can’t you cannot count on being able to get back and retrieve it.

        Spend the time to think about it. I’d rather have the minimum at two locations than the maximum at one and lose it all. Secure them at both locations and when things cool down you may be able to get back and gain a bonus.

        Depends so much on the distances, circumstances you just don’t know now and howmuch money you have to spend.

  64. Ran into the guy we bought our property from & he asked if we were still there. I said, Yep – the only way we’re leaving is in a box. He asked if we liked it that much. Told him, No, we’re just too old to move!

    So short answer – we’re staying put.

    The only thing that would get me to bug out is a forest fire & that’s mainly because I’d have to get the animals out. I’ve really thought that one through & have it planned out.

    God bless,
    Opportunity Farm
    NE WA

  65. axelsteve says:

    Amen Papabear! We have our fair share of problems with illegals.One reason health insurance is so expensive is beacus they are losing therea$$ treating illegal aliens.They raise our prices to cover the losses involved with treating uninsured aliens.I plan on bugging in intil it gets wayway bad.We have a home with modest provisions we can defend it and it is warm. We have some good neighbors and some so so and alot of idiots and losers living off of the goverment. We live in a low rent part of Northern California.That means our Walmart and safeway and rightaide will probably be looted if not looted and burned.We plan on sticking it out as long as we can. Steve

  66. James from Iowa says:

    I generally equate ‘bugging out’ to result in ‘refugee and/or marauder to-be’. Unless it would be suicidal to stay put, our family is staying home.

  67. Denise in Northern Ireland says:

    Our plan is to bug-in,
    My husband says at 65 after what he went through last year, he does not have another move in him. So we are making sure we have everything we need here. Plus we are safer here, than where we used to live.


  68. Tomthetinker says:

    You all have me hashing over options again. Myhaps I am not as certian as I thought…… evolution of thought…… evolution of options… what a fool I would be to think there would ever be an end game to the possibilities a prepper has to consider… and prep for. Still bugging in until I can afford a caretaker retreat in a sq. mile wood somewhere in Southern Ohio.

  69. mike1960 says:

    No question. Bug in. In our development; just on my block are 4 other like minded families. To my rear are open fields. The right flank are fields with some woods in the distance; anchored with a like minded family. The front are two like minded families. Left flank is the entrance to our street. Not yet certain who our other like family is but we are going to be having a cookout soon to discuss our plans in case of marauders. If given enough time, we can give them a nasty surprise once we get coordinated. A pentagon of defense with interlocking fields of fire. Communications? Walkie talkies on the same channel.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      mike1960, I like your plan. It must be nice to have LMI so close to your home. Walkie talkies will work so long as you can keep them charged or have new batteries, and so long as the freqs are not jammed. Have you considered a backup to the w-t’s? Maybe a semaphore system? Flags are silent, slow, but effective. http://www.anbg.gov.au/flags/semaphore.html

      • Another potential communication method would be basic telephones wired between the houses. Relatively inexpensive, and they could all run from a single 12V car or motorcycle battery.
        As for jammed frequencies you can use FRS, CB, NUIRS, GMRS or get technician class Amateur radio licenses, which require no code and are relatively easy to acquire. You could also look at marine band radios and licenses, especially if you’re not near large navigable bodies of water, meaning you would have the frequencies mostly to yourselves.

  70. mike1960 says:

    Thanks Lint Picker. Jammed frequency is something I had not considered. I spent 15 years in the US Navy and held signalmen as a rate in somewhat derision; aka skivvie wavers. May have to eat some crow on that one. It took a few years to have it crash home though. Thanks.

    As a newbie, not sure what an LMI is, yet. Don’t have time yet to research.

    My other half was asking me about a generator last night. I didn’t even think we were close to being on the same page but another chance to eat some crow.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      LMI=Like-minded individuals. People who think as you do.

  71. mike1960 says:

    My lady is arriving home soon with one of her Eagle scout sons. I am laid off but have a job interview on Tues. I promised to fix them pizza through a chef boy r d kit. I guess I know what my dinner will be! Lol. Be back in touch.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Good luck with the job interview. Please let us know how it goes.

  72. Tucked In In NC says:

    Thanks for the article. It brings common sense to a terrible possibility. Bugging In was the plan from the beginning being in the country with a good water source and land to till. Bugging out for us is when all else fails. Now it is a different matter for folks in high population density areas.

  73. mike1960 says:

    The people dearest to us will be coming to us for help. 4 elderly, 3 eagle scouts, a young girl who only thinks chicken nuggets and fries as food. A man with his own arsenal but limited health supplies, my lady with limited health supplies; not to mention the ones I cannot turn out. It almost feels like we are at the Alamo; which we we may very well be at some point. I will do my utmost to defend them! BTW, Happy Memorial Day Weekend everybody!

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Yes, Happy Memorial Day weekend. Let’s not forget to take a moment to thank those who gave their all in defense of our country.

  74. Oklahoma Keith says:

    M.D., what different items do you keep in your evacuation bag versus your bug out bag? In my mind. I had thought the two were the same before reading your article.

    Also curious to know if you carry a get home bag in your vehicle?

    I finally put a get home bag together this week before the bad weather hit central Oklahoma, since I was traveling in the OKC area Tuesday.

    Great article as always, and I would stay in, since I don’t have any real survival skills yet. I have a family to keep safe, and would only leave the house if necessary.


  75. AZ rookie prepper says:

    It’ll take a team of clydesdales to move me from my bug-in location. Only way I’ll leave is if there just isnt anything left here at all, no food, no water, no stray cats to eat….(cat, the other white meat). (Just joking for now).
    Bugging out to me is the last, most desperate method of saving one’s life. If you must you do it…but all other options must be attempted first.
    Only thing that really worries me at this time is hordes of Mexicans coming across the border to “retake” their property (I live just a few miles from the “secure” border…thank you janet napalitano)
    Originally from tornado alley, lived just outside Kansas City. Seriously considering returning to that area, tornadoes or not. Prayers to those affected by the recent storms.

  76. Initially, I plan to depart my home and take up an overwatch position where I can take stock of the situation for a few days or weeks. The difficult thing for many of us to admit is that no matter how tight-lipped we are, or how well we practice OPSEC, there is someone, or some group out there who knows what we have in the way of weaponry and preparations. The best technique may be to have multiple hide sights that eventually lead to an area farther removed from population centers and the corresponding resource competition they represent. The best part of bugging out to an overwatch position may be the flexibility it gives you when the situation returns to normal in a day or two and you can return to your home once you recognize the conditions normalizing. Additionally, getting away from your home, while still keeping tabs on the situation may save you from the groups that target your home and your resources, knowing in advance that you were well-prepared. If you stay in your home, the “low men” won’t have ANY trouble finding you. Leaving your home initially may make things harder for you BUT the key is… to not make it easy for them.

  77. chemman says:

    Good article. I will stay where I am at, but then I live in a rural (actually classified frontier because of population density) area. Will be adding a wood stove this summer to heat the cabin during winters (lots of trees on the property). I just got through mapping (driving) a 4th route to our area for my daughter. The two easiest routes will be taken out of play if the potential for marauders develop. She knows that if the situation where she lives deteriorates to such an extent she has to flee then she is to come to our place.

  78. Uncle Dewey says:

    I agree absolutely. Staying put is the best option if you can adapt your survival strategy to the likely realities that you will face. My approach will be to stay home as log as possible and then fall back to my remote and fairly well hidden little hunting camp as a retreat. There I know the place, the local hunting & fishing situation and am known to the locals as a regular visitor.

  79. Leaving is a last resort, something that is necessary.

  80. Annie Nonymous says:

    Bug in unless we have to bug out. Its situation dependent. We could hold on here for a long time (with or without the help of the local au-thohr-ahh-tays) or could be on the road. We just lost a backup vehicle but could still get to one of our few prearranged locations.

    But essentially we are set to stay here unless and/or until we have to leave. my BOB is also my Get-home bag as well… see, our church is here, our friends are here, our family knows where we are, and we don’t have to worry about the maurauders and banditos on the road (better the enemy you know about than the enemy you don’t) yet if we have to go, we contact one another and decide our meet up point.

    But I hope that even when it gets bad it doesn’t get to the bug out scenario, not because we haven’t prepped for an eventuality as such, but because it would mean society really -has- gone to hell… and it will take a loooooooooooong and expensive (in goods, resources, and precious lives) time for us to rebuild it…

  81. I’m a skilled outdoorsman and have backpacked and camped in many areas and weather conditions, but on a list of ten places I would bug out to, moving to the wilderness would be about number 100.
    Based on my personal threat matrix (we should all have our own based on our location and circumstances), I plan to leave only for one or two circumstances, and that is with a BOB and not an INCH, because I plan on coming back. We’ve live on our rural acreage for more than 25 years, and it has nearly everything we need on hand. My only reason for BO would be that knock on the door by the local authorities that a noxious gas cloud was coming our way, which is a short term highly low probability event. In the case where our homestead had been severely damaged by a tornado, low probability, but a possibility nonetheless. My BOL would be in order:
    1. The local Hotel 6, Holiday Inn Express, etc.
    2. One of several LMI friends homes within a 20 mile radius.
    3. A somewhat shared 140 acre retreat local in the southern Ohio hills.
    The use of #3 would have to be an event of biblical proportions, and highly unlikely. The other events would be short term until things were back to “normal” and I could return home.
    In my particular location and circumstances I do not foresee any other scenario that would not allow us to shelter in place, and be quite comfortable, and I have thought this through and planned it for a long, long time.

  82. Rider of Rohan says:

    Reading through all these comments made me realize how much I miss Lint Picker. I wish he would come back, and so many others as well.

  83. I myself have no where to bug out to, so staying put is it. In a better world(If it were perfect no one would have to bug out), I would have a nice piece of land with good neighbors of similar think and we would take care of each other, I have to do that where I am, I do plan to get some rabbits soon, they are quiet, I wish the Easter Bunny could have left some chicken-rabbit hybrids, but then I would get the reject ones that dig and crow!;-)

  84. I sure miss ole lint picker.

  85. Donna in MN says:

    I just realized these posts are 3 years old. Good reading though..

  86. patientmomma says:

    Basic principles rarely go out of style; good post.

  87. I did’t read all 180 comments, but the way I see it, you may need much of the equipment and skills to shelter in place as you would bugging out. Imagine a prolonged utility outage in the middle of winter. You’ll be sleeping in a cold weather sleeping bag, cooking over a wood fire, gathering firewood (unless you start burning furniture), maintaining the same high alert mindset, etc. What you will be saving is shoe leather.

  88. Everyone’s situation is different. In my particular case, I would have to be hard pressed indeed before I bugged out. I have a wife with health problems and a special needs child. So while I do have a couple of relatives I can head to in absolute disaster, staying put seems the best plan for us. In that frame of mind, I am doing what I can to make my home as “storm-proof” as possible, both literally and figuratively.

  89. I have a wife who is diabled and would not be able to make it long in the wilderness, or walk very far. I also could not count on her to help me carry stuff, and I might even have to half carry her. So, especially if my truck won’t run, I will make my stand at home. If the truck is running, I can then carry lots of stuff and go lots of places, but I still consider hunkering down the best option. Obviously, certain senarios will alter my thinking.

  90. mike ronan says:

    bug in at first as i have a good friend who is also a prepper who live right next door to me if i couldnt stay here i would go to his apt as his is more defenseable then mine is if after a week maybe two things settle down we would then bug out to a nice spot

  91. Bugout, there is no bugin option. The JBT’s will pick you clean in no time flat in a major emergency. Then your neighbors come for the left overs. The latter will burn you out and catch you in a crossfire to get your meager possessions, That being what Johnny Law left you keep after they took turns with your wife and daughter. I’m not batman in the boonies, I am going home, as home is the boonies. I stay in town part time for work, that is all. I have no sweat equity in my town place. None. I don’t have much use for town or townie thinking. It is way to late to bugout when three of the houses on the street are in flames and they are throwing molotov’s at yours. So what would make me bugout, Social unrest, Police actions, financial collapse, GRID DOWN event, and Major”biblical in proportion”natural disaster.

Before commenting, please read my Comments Policy - thanks!