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.


  1. 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

  2. otter ridge says:

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. ……. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.


  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.


  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

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

  30. 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…

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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!;-)

  34. I sure miss ole lint picker.

  35. Donna in MN says:

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

  36. patientmomma says:

    Basic principles rarely go out of style; good post.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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

  41. 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.