Letter and question from Backwoods Prepper

We discuss a lot of things on here, why we prep, how we prep. I have a burning question that I would love to start a conversation about. But first for some of you that don’t know me.

In 2005 after getting the survivalist / prepper bug I picked up and moved 750 miles away to an area that I deemed rural and safe for my survivalist/ lifestyle. We sold our home for less than market value. We gave up our jobs cut our losses and moved to the country. We had a pickup truck and a 97 Chevy Tahoe that I still drive today. We loaded everything in a 26 foot camper and a livestock trailer. We rented a very small place. I found a job making a little more than half of my previous job and my wife found a part-time job. In 2007 I purchased 7 acres up against 6000 acres of timber company property (all mountains). We lived in our camper for 2 years till we could build our house. We have turned it into a small homestead and we really could be totally self sufficient if we had too.

A lot of people on here have taken the gaunlet and run with it so to speak. Buying food, guns, equipment, BOBs GHBs. We always bring up hurricane Katrina as a reference(it’s the best real life scenario we have). There was food shortages, water shortages and lack of hygiene supplies not to mention the crime that occurred. Almost all the regular commenters that I am familiar with here are almost positive it is going to happen on a larger scale. If I could or had to bet money on what is about to happen today it would be an Economic collapse, Iran or N. Korea slipping in a backdoor nuke or both working together or possibly a revolution with the coming gun ban (and I think it will happen).

If you live anywhere near one of these higher populated areas I think you will have no choice but to bug out. Do you really think you will be safe in a home among hundreds in the suburbs of Dallas, Chicago, Richmond, St Louis, Los Angeles. Even if the whole community stood together you wouldn’t be able to fend off the golden horde.

OK so here is my Question. If you have committed yourself to the prepper lifestyle and you truly believe something may happen soon why do you still live in SUBURBIA.

I’m not trying to start an argument or say I’m better than anyone else. I’m just trying to say I care and if there was something that has drawn you to prepping and this website, then you are someone who is looking for a brighter future of our country. And I want you to be safe. God bless you all and God bless America.

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. That’s a very fair question. Here’s the answers that work in my case:

    1. While I still live in Suburbia, i moved away from the worst place to live in Canada (the greater Toronto area) to a much smaller demographic
    2. This smaller demographic affords me the ability, on foot if need be, to escape to much less densely populated areas, farmland, wooded areas all within several days walking distance and sparsely populated. With vehicles, I can skirt (in a round about way) every densely populated area between me and either one of my bug out locations
    3. My family lives here and I want to be able to get them out
    4. My friends and bug out allies live here as well and I want to maintain the integrity of the group
    5. Living in an urban area lets me maintain a well paying job that pays for preps

    I mean, I’d like to be homesteading in a fully stocked cabin with acres of property, but doing so alone isn’t an option. At least for me.

  2. Survivor says:

    Gotta agree with Mike, it’s the job. It funds my preps. I get to work on my preps virtually every weekend. Everything I do is another step closer to moving to the BOL. Eventually, I intend to do exactly as you have done, except that my DW is going to keep working to support me in the manner to which I would like to be accostumed.

    • Backwoods Prepper says:

      So you already have a BOL? That is great. I would save up some sick or vacation days and if you really get the Chicken little bug (you know the sky is falling the sky is falling). You can head to the BOL. and if it is not what you thought you still have your job. And if you was right then you are way ahead of everyone else.

      • Precisely!! I keep at least three days of PTO available for that very reason. My boss is remote so he can’t see my comings and goings. I feel like I have a pretty good plan. There are several sub-plans in case TSH(Me) instead of TSH(Fan).

  3. My choice was easy I live in a town of 500 people almost all of whom I know on a first name basis. This affords me the luxery of having a very real idea of who poses a threat to me and who I can trust. My belief is the begining of us needing to use our preps may not come as sudden as a nuclear device or great catasthrophe, but much simpler than that. The increasing price of food after last years nation wide drought has only gotton started it takes 18 month’s before those effects are truly felt, also with Obama care, a still struggling economy, and an almost 6 percent inflation rate I can see massive unemployment ( like 30% or higher) and that going to push the socialized government programs to the absolute breaking point. Also if people can’t afford to pay there taxes county’s and city’s will be forced to reduce law enforcement because they cant pay them. Hungry children will push even the best christian men to to terrible things and the not so christian men to do even worse and if food riots, robbery, looting get excessive the already over welmed leo community can’t help. And I don’t believe a “man on an island” can last long term either, There is a reason cave men formed community’s it is impossible to sustain yourself long term on your own. My town do to the army corp of engineers threats of charging towns for missouri river water usage and the scary low water levels last summer decided to retrofit our old well pump system, For fire protection and good community drinking water supply should the need arise this is an over 140 year old dependable drinking water source so at least that’s something. I agree that an urban area is not ideal but my small town scenario affords me options that a loner mentality doesn’t. Also with three children under 8 hauling ass for the hills has to be my last option, so maybe i am a fool but my community is close enough for me to have a good job and far enough of a hike to prevent the initial onset of urban decay from effecting me. and if it stays bad long enough that the gang’s of thugs are looking for resources this offers me a better friend to foe ratio for defense.

    • Backwoods Prepper says:

      You sound like you are in a much smaller community than what I am talking about. I’m talking being only minutes away from big cities. LA, Miami, OKC, Chicago, Detroit, KC

      • Yes and at least 30 miles from any urban centers next closest town is 6 miles and smaller than ours. I have very good hunting grounds and fertile farm land all around us. Sheeple will be had to organize but hopefully after the short term shock wears off long term survival becomes a reality.

    • Repair Mama says:

      It sounds like you live in the same town that I do except for the Army Corps of Engineers and the river thing. I moved to my present location about 20 years ago and at that time, I did not know what I know now. I was young, just divorced, and had a baby to support. Moved here to be with a family member and they passed away a year later and I have been here since.
      after my “awakening” I am so grateful that I am here. It is like devine intervention that I got stuck here. I love this place. The people are friendly, and it really feels better than home.

      With our industry, we also know just about everyone in this little place and have a better idea of who is who. We are placed over 1 hr from any large cities, but are close to the interstate. (I dont have a BOL cause I “bugged out”” to here years ago. lol
      I feel more comfortable about living here than back where I was raised. But even here, no one is totally safe from what is coming.

  4. Petticoat Prepper says:

    This should be a good thought provoking article. Thanks for putting this out there.

    I’m with Mike and Survivor in that job and family keep me here. I too am within a day’s walk or three depending on road conditions to my acreage, my future BOL.

    Something not mentioned above (as I type this out) is my DH. He’s not been on board with my prepping. He is starting to come around and I can thank the not much loved Doomsday Preppers for that! He is just starting to talk about moving. We’re even talking about an earth shelter home with escape route.

    So for many of us it’s baby steps to get to where you’re at. Even my BOL isn’t my dream BOL. We all have to work within the realities of our own lives. You were blessed with a good woman who followed you. Some in the pack haven’t been bless that way but we keep on prepping, No matter where we’re at we’re better off than those that don’t prep.

    • Backwoods Prepper says:

      It’s great that you have a BOL. I hope your DH is on board soon. Like you said you are way ahead of the Sheeple

  5. Thomas T. Tinker says:

    BackWoods: I moved out of L.A. many years ago to Toledo, Ohio area. I have lived here and worked here since. The town takes 10 min to drive across, less to get out of. We have three alternate locations with in 20 min, half way there you can find no illumination/pole lights only ditched farm roads and darkness. One alternate 2 hours away is far more… developed. We here have not avoided the possiblities of what could take place here in town. Much like Mike above, we live where we earn our keep.

    My DW and I just this Tuesday got back from a ‘recon’ of Eastern WV,Western NC and No. East Tenn. Of the three, Tenn. has the lowest density of ‘trouble’ and other issues. Buttt… if 1% of the prepper community moved to those rolling hills and woods….. It would soon.. very soon lose its appeal for the whole community. Taken the number of us and the number of those with no foresight to prepare, the density of the herd will…. not maybe…. will cover all available vacant land. How close is to close…. how close is ‘next door’? These all predicate a worst case issue. Yeah yeah… that is my opinion of what close is.

    We here have decided to ride out the most likely problems right here. We will… procure a few acres of bare dirt to ‘run’ to in the event of… something less likely… Everything in time… and budget.

    For now, we will keep our ears open, our gas tanks topped off and our preps in as good an order as the time and $$$ allow. THAT is our plan.

    • Backwoods Prepper says:

      I wish 1% of all the like minded preppers would move to my community. we would be a strong community for sure. Could you imagine if Toledo were all preppers. I live in the very southern tip of W.V. I can imagine some trouble if something where to happen. But Toledo is near 300k we only have 22k in the whole county.

  6. I have to say we are $60,000 from retiring, and are looking at property. We have done what prepping we can do from here. Now granted living in a town of under 50,000 people might seem like small time to some. Except our town is one of the Democrat/Union bastions of Montana. Plus my house is totally grid dependent. I don’t have to go far from town to be on a well and septic, with no building codes (so I don’t have to submit plans to the government), and no livestock restrictions. But is still is a move.

    Our house is now paid for, so our debt is mobile, if something comes up. Income opportunities are not high in Montana, so it is something that has to be considered here. We’re getting closer (and more anxious) as we get closer.

    • axelsteve says:

      JP I have a friend and a few relatives in Montana. My aunt moved there after her husband passed and she retired. She had a house built on 14 acres next door to her brother. Though she is not a prepper I think he is.She is happy to be out there from what I can see. She is a retired nurse so she would be good in a group.

      • JP in MT says:


        I live on the divide. Is your aunt in East or West. Maybe we could hook up with your aunt and/or uncle. The more the merrier.

      • My wife is a semester and a half away but worked in health care for over a decade. Nurse’s not doctors are the backbone of care especially emergency and triage. A former EMT myself I know enough to keep you from bleeding to death for the short term but can’t have enough nurses slash paramedics in a group.

        • I think access to medical care is important. I live within a 10 minute walk of several physicians. One reason why I stay in our small city is for work and another is for medical care. When things start looking bad, we are going to pack up and head north to my brother’s farm. By remaining here, I can pull in a much better paycheck and that helps to pay for preps for my extended family.

  7. worrisome says:

    I am already somewhat rural but in a settled community. All progeny (4) live in cities, two near DC, two in SF Bay area. BOL on the east coast is 4 hours due West of DC. The fly in the ointment for these highly productive, highly paid progeny is getting out of DC ahead of an event to avoid gridlock. We are working out here on the west coast on the BOL as we speak. We made family decisions a couple of years ago. We are a frugal family and have the savings to make our plans possible. Both places that we have established as bol’s can also be used as vacation spots and are. While I can leave my current job and retire, young familes with children to raise and educations to pay for need to hang in there as long as they can. It doesn’t prevent them from preparing, nor does it prevent them from staying informed for what may be coming at them. Sudden events, No Korea dropping a warhead on one side of the country or the other, for instance, however may not be something they will be able to recover from. All you can do is your best. Know that even if you plan it all out, there is no guarantee you are going to live through it. None of us get that kind of guarantee.

  8. Thought-provoking questions. Funny how the same issues come up with lots of folks – this very issue was brought home to me recently (just visited family still in Maryland and DC).

    My dream, growing up in DC, was to live in a rural community where I could have a little house, some land to farm and be left alone. It took years to realize that dream because of circumstance and work availability was in suburbia. I stayed there near the city out of necessity. When my debts were paid, and I was mobile, I moved to rural TN.

    Talking to family back in Maryland, it was clear that they do not share my mindset for rural living They are going to stay where they are, and want to survive there. Its their choice…but argh!

    Honestly, I don’t think city survival is possible long term, and bugging out is smarter. But some suburbia areas have lots of land, and with careful prep, I think they could survive there as surburbia as for those fleeing the city, it would not a destination and folks would just pass through it. Of course, I may be fooling myself on that idea. 🙂

    Maybe a good discussion would be how to help those who cannot move away from suburbia. The best way to prep and such.

    • Backwoods Prepper says:

      I like the idea of helping them that can’t move. I would not doubt that one could not survive in and around the big city. I just couldn’t imagine the type of person you would need to become to do so. Would you need to be a very mean hard and cruel person. Or would you need to bow like a peasant to a king when gangs come to take from everyone. I just don’t see an inbetween in that situation.

      • In that instance really only one choice, You must become violent, bowing down will lead to your assault/death and that to all those with you. If the situation got that bad it truly is an us vs. them for survival. Give once and its like a stray cat they keep coming back. The only other option is organize with good people gang mentality is pray on the weak. A well organized highly motivated group is your only chance long term in an urban enviroment.

  9. Well if all the folks in the city areas moved to the country there would be to many people in the country. At some point the heard has to get thinned. It is no longer survival of the fittest, it’s survival of the savvy, street (dirt road) smarts.. 10 years ago we moved from the heart of the city to the far edge beyond the burbs. Our property backs up to the edge of nowhere. Back then I was just tired of all the noise of the city. Just my 2 cents

    • Backwoods Prepper says:

      I don’t ever imagine evryone in the city abandoning the city. But if all the preppers left the big cities today you would not notice a dent in the population.

      • Survivor says:

        I just finished a job with some fellers from NYC. I was telling them about hunting, fishing and camping. To a man, they all said no way. They don’t understand the rural life and would definitely stay where they were.
        Now, I know what they say now when feeding is good and they don’t have to worry about the next meal. When they take to the roads to look for food they don’t know that dirt roads often lead to farms. I doubt that city folks are going to venture too far from what they know, because they’re too skeered to take on that which they don’t.

  10. B.P you are living my dream.. I currently live in a couple miles outside a small town of 7500 that is 150 mile (as the crow flies) away from any Major pop center. I am sitting in a giant paid for house that I have been trying to sell for the last 2 and half years. As soon as it sells I will head to my chosen location and look for a new job and property. My plan is to get a location similar to yours and become as self sufficent as possible so I will not be tied to a job . Then when shtf I will be able to exist like folks did 150 years ago and not depend on anyone (esp the govment). Just hope it I can make it happen before shtf, if not I am getting as ready as I can at this location, and one plus is I do know lot of people and have family her also. Plans are in place but depend on somethings not in my control…

    • Backwoods Prepper says:

      At least you think about it. Although you sound like you are in a decent situation. It seems some preppers are content with the city life. Do you have garden or livestock space. Rabbits you can grow in almost any space in your yard. and would be excellent food source.

      • I live on a golf course, so room for a couple small raised beds but no liivestock so to speak of. But if shtf have lots of water close, with fish and lots of room to expand for garden and livestock space. Aunt live a mile away and has 3.5 acres and could set up lots of chickens and rabbits threre. She is of a like mindset , even did a paper in college back in the 40’s on the fragility of the food distribution system and how Stalin starved his people with govt control of the food system..

        • Patriot Dave says:

          George: I think that paper needs to be re-published again. how about posting it here for starters?

        • Wow. I would sure be interested in reading it.

          • Well she was the youngest of 8 kids born on the farm and is now in her early 80’s so I don’t think she even has that paper anymore. But she and my mother who was born in the middle were able to talk of what went on during the depression and WW2 with rationing etc. Looks like the place to be back then was on the farm where you raised your own food. My dad told me a story of when he went home for a visit after basic training he brought back a buddy from NYC to the farm and he could not believe how well they ate!! Grandma made them fresh fried chicken for breakast and she always had the BEST pies on hand every day..

  11. Like most, I think, my job dictated my home location. Although I have recently retired we did move from an area of around 5-6 million people to one containing around 1.5 million. And the move was because of my job. When I was younger my wife and I both wanted to live in a small town in a rural area. But at the time 2 things were against us, money and type of work I was in. Now I have cleared those 2 hurdles but have 2 different problems, age and health.

    We still talk about buying a few acres out somewhere but the age and health thing holds us back. So we have come to the conclusion that we stay where we are and do the best we can. We prep, we pray and without going too far, try to get some of our neighbors to at least see what’s going on in the world. Our 2 children are married and live in another state and both of their locations are just horrible for a SHTF scenario. But they too are struggling to survive the best they can.
    So my wife and I are basically alone and too old or unhealthy to bugout, sellout or otherwise leave our current location. Besides, if everything goes to pot and people around us are starving we will probably share more food etc than we should. But we have lived a long and blessed life and if it comes to some other younger people we can help rather than keeping this old bag of bones going then I hope I’ll choose the younger. I say hope because I really don’t know how I would react in that situation.
    Well, sorry about the rambling but you had a good question. I know my age is not really all that old but I’m sure you have heard, “it’s not the age it’s the miles”. Even with a great life and God’s blessings all the way we have quite a few long miles on us. So we’ll stay put unless forced to do otherwise.

  12. Katrina also showed us deployment of private security contractors domestically and confiscation of civilian weapons. Here’s an Oath Keeper answering (some) questions about his experiences on the popular news site reddit.com: http://www.reddit.com/r/guns/comments/159oc2/i_ama_soldier_who_was_asked_to_take_weapons_from/

  13. PGCPrepper says:

    Sometimes it seems the most religious folks are the most concerned about their own survival. There is some irony in that IMO. I would just call it a life if it meant that I had to do something beyond my ability or desire. Nice post.

  14. NE prepper says:

    Very good question BP I currently live in Philadelphia Pa and it couldn’t be a worse place to be it is already shtf here people are already barely making it now I could leave know but my wife and kids would not and to leave them behind would be a death sentence they are starting to come around it’s getting harder to ignore the writing on the wall money is a big issue bad mortgage could sell house and lose all equity and walk away working on trying to buy a trailer and get an acre of ground down south just don’t know how much time is left have preps in order hope to make it out before it gets to bad?????

  15. SouthernPrep says:

    My family lives in a small suburb just outside of a major city in my region. The city has so many problems, high rates of crime and a real ignorance to the reality of their situation. We still live here because our little spot has a great school system, our extended family lives in the same area and our jobs provide our ability to prep and do our day to day living. We do have a BOL with extended family far away from this major city (still in the same state) and preps for our family are already being stored there. We haven’t left because of the children and our school system and of course the jobs. We have a plan, a good plan, but I am still TERRIFIED about getting out of here quickly enough if the SHTF and if we had to walk – what a trek from Hades that would be….

  16. So I live in a suburb outside Portland but having living in several areas and going thru a few natural disasters my reply would be it depends. Regardless of what I am about to say I am looking at moving closer to where I grew up and will be looking to move to the country again.

    In the event of natural disaster I believe that it is the city where the Golden Horde will go. The cities are the first areas where aid arrives. So like New Orleans everybody goes into the city. If aid doesn’t come, the time to move has likely already passed and you have people that are too tired, sick and malnourished to travel much.

    If it comes to economic collapse you might have a different issue with some of the people moving from the cities into the suburbs but not as much as you think. The city provides a target rich environment where the people traditionally are not likely to own guns. As you move further out your chances of picking the wrong victim go up a lot. In economic collapse there will also be some police presence to address some of the problems.

    Overall I think that a country home would be better because it allows you space to grow some of your own food and provide for yourself. Also being in the country will also make it more unlikely to have people start invading your home. I just think the idea of the Golden Horde is a little overstated. I think in general the Horde is going to stay in the city mostly and will only present an occasion threat to the suburbs and country.

  17. Swabbie Robbie says:

    I moved from the city in 1975 to a rural piece of land 8 miles from several small towns. Lots of us were thinking of the SHTF back then, plus there was the back- to-the-land movement in full swing. We have made a much smaller living than if we had stayed in the city/burbs, but the rural life really appealed to us. Over the years since the 2008 crash we have read a lot of preparedness stuff and found we were pretty well set in many areas and not too good in a few.

    The dilemma today is that we are older and poorer and are having a harder time affording our homestead and taking care of it all. We are also being property taxed to death. We need to move and downsize again. Start over. Where if the ’08 crash hadn’t occurred we would be financially OK. This is a big issue in prepping for the unforeseen. I believe money and the government’s never ending need for more may be the biggest obstacle we all will face.

  18. I do , nothing that can be done about it at the moment , Phoenix is a city of over 4 million people in it , its going to get ugly …………but at the same time , that also works against the fednazi’s . A city with that many people and as spread out as it is , the fact that Arizonan’s are pro gun and heavily armed , it would take manpower and resources of incredible proportions to take Phoenix , even a small area of it .

    • T.R.

      AZ has excellent gun laws and a pretty conservative live and let live populous. But, I have a problem with trying to make a stand in Arizona (my home too) It is two fold – population and water.

      The population is primarily located in a handful of population areas – the Phoenix Metro Area (Maricopa and northern Pinal), Tucson (Eastern Pima and Southern Pinal), Flagstaff (Coconino County), Yuma (Yuma County) with smaller towns spread out over the state. This means that the VAST majority of AZ population is part of the grid/ just in time system. Any disruption and all hell will break loose quickly.

      The water situation is a major problem. Phoenix relies heavily on canal water. Tucson and Yuma a combo of well and canal. Flag has some surface, but has to be pumped uphill. Most rural folks have electric deep well pumps. My question is, if the power goes out and the pumps go down, where is AZ going to get water? That’s a big issue.

      I live here. I could, where my family lives, get pretty prepared to withstand a fairly prolonged SHTF situation. 1 – 2 years pretty easily. I could likely come close to producing much of my families food and animals feed right on our land.

      But, how am I going to deal with 6 million fellow ‘zonins who are out of water and desperate. Throw in Mexico and it’s even more interesting.

      So, to focus on your comment. What bothers me is that a tyrannical regime could pretty much easily deal with Arizona and her guns and freedom by cutting off the grid and drying us out.

      I just haven’t been able to wrap my brain around how to deal with this fact. AZ’s respect of the 2nd amendment keeps me in AZ. But water worries are a major factor in thinking about moving some place else.

      I’m all ears for other desert rats opinions or ideas.

      • From a former Dessert Rat,
        I lived in Tuscon, the water table dropped so much in the 70’s the Saguarros died off in the flats near the Popago Res., and well water has to be drilled very deep. If you had a sistern that collected rain water during the monsoon season if not breaking epa laws, it would sustain you during the hot months. Otherwise all the cacti would be gone when people cut them up for a water source and food. Mt Lemmon nearby had a creek I used to swim in during the hot months, that is another source.

        Tombstone gets their water from the mountains nearby, but a flood took out the pipes and the EPA made it so difficult to fix the pipes, but after all the walking (No vehicles allowed) I think it has been restored by now.

        I lived in Flagstaff where there is water from the Oak Creek Canyon and a small lake I fished in just a couple miles away but you are right, it is downhill. I suppose it depends where you live in Az, The Coronado forests have more water than the dessert. So do the mountains with large forests. Lake Powell?

        I stayed in New Mexico in a Hogan with some friends near Churchrock for a time, and there was a windmill down the road pumping fresh water in a huge tank, 5 ft deep, full of water. My friends would get their water there.

        You may not get water running at the home but there are places you can run to get water for the home.

      • Yep , its going to get very ugly , thats why secession of groups of states makes sense .

      • Ralph , It has been discussed that one of the best things that the state could do is to blow up all the dams it currently has , and let the water flow in its natural direction . Replace the dams with Nuclear power ( it is safe , no matter what the commies say )
        then build one last dam on the AZ / Kalifornia border of the colorado to deny them OUR water .

  19. I’d like to say that I don’t have a choice in the matter, at least at the moment. Technically, I live in “suburbia”, a small town about 12 miles east of a medium-sized city in the Northeast. I’m currently in a state of transition as I wait for further back surgery and the follow-up therapy to get back up and running. I need to be closer to those services now.

    And upon reflection, I like being close to stuff. I like being able to take a stroll to the store or the tavern on a nice day. Living in the back pocket of beyond would probably bore me more than anything else. I’m twenty to thirty minutes by car from the “real” countryside where I am right now, or perhaps a day and half if I had to do it on foot.

    Maybe someday I’ll have the ability and desire to retreat back into the hinterlands, but not now or for the foreseeable future.

  20. “OK so here is my Question. If you have committed yourself to the prepper lifestyle and you truly believe something may happen soon why do you still live in SUBURBIA.”

    Just because someone commits to the prepper lifestyle, doesn’t mean that their commitment is any less than yours because they choose to live in SUBURBIA. As mentioned above, many people have jobs or family to consider. Swabbie Robbie’s comment is one that many don’t take into consideration; to move onto property is to submit to possibly higher property taxes (depending on the move).

    Here’s something to consider; if readers of this site are committed (to whatever extent) to the prepper lifestyle, don’t you think that they’d be the first to get out of their city or get supplies and bug in? They are better prepared than the “golden hordes” of sheeple just by being aware of what may happen. They know about how to store/hide supplies and how to not draw attention to themselves. If they choose to stay or have to stay in the city, then let them prepare without condemnation. Encourage them to work towards the goal of leaving, if that’s what they choose, but don’t ask your question in a demeaning way and add, “I’m not trying to start an argument or say I’m better than anyone else…”

    Even in the rural areas, there is a great chance that we could not survive a SHTF situation; we’re too far from a hospital or there are rampant fires or plagues, etc. Our stories probably WON’T end up as pretty and tidy as some of the fiction stories we’ve read. Don’t put all of your eggs in the “I live out of the city, so I’ll survive.”

    In the city, it may all come down to this; not fending off the “golden horde,” but hiding from them, sneaking around them or outliving them.

    • Backwoods Prepper says:

      “I’m not trying to start an argument or say I’m better than anyone else…” You forgot about the part where I said I cared. But as for you, you have bigger problems. You are not Jinxed you are just not blessed. Momma always said if I couldn’t say anything good not to say anything at all so I’ll quit now. God bless you.

    • Argentina is a good example of ruralites becoming victims ( and casualties ) of the organized city criminal bands expanding outward . I think if its bad enough , the rural people will have a reprieve for a short time ………..but nobody will be safe .

      • Backwoods Prepper says:

        I know that. I don’t think that nothing bad will ever happen. As a matter of fact I expect it to. And I prepare for that day also. But where I relocated to I don’t think I will ever see a big city gang.

        • True , they will go for the easy pickings first . I guess it depends on what a person believes is going to happen . Total economic collaps ,, will be very ugly indeed , as it will be every man for themselves . If you think a civil war is coming , that is a different situation , but one could lead to the other .

  21. My advice If you move to the country, check out the neighbors first to see if they will cause any problems.

    I downsized my income and home as well moving from the east, (From a 3600 sq ft home to a 1200 sq ft home) but I found it cheaper to live here(16 times cheaper) with all the amenities of fishing, hunting, gathering wild foods, and a small garden that could be much larger which is under 3 ft of snow darn it!

    Our economy is in a fragile condition, it won’t take much for the economy to crash. I hope you good city folk have a good plan to leave. There is acreage up north here selling for as cheap as $9,000 and taxes are $65 a year. You can find those properties if you look and ask.

  22. I live in a suburbia with no city. Our 200,000 is the biggest population all the way from here to the west coast. My job is the main reason for me being here, but that is not meant as an excuse for why I can’t do what Backwoods Prepper did.

    I’m a prepper but I don’t believe the end of the world is near. I have put a great deal of time and effort into creating a life for my family and myself that we love. My kids have friends that are nearby, close enough to bicycle to when they’re old enough. I have a job that uses my talents and creativity and is always changing. We are in a pretty good economy with low crime and good educational opportunities for my two little ones. I have no immediate desire to leave this life.

    Maybe you think I’m a spoiled rich guy who doesn’t see the writing on the wall. Well, we don’t have cable, mom stays home with the guys, we live in about 1,200 square feet (and like it). We keep our grocery bill below $300 a month for a family of 4 by regularly rotating our rice, lentils, canned tomatoes, beans, wheat berries, pasta, cornmeal, peanut butter, etc. from our long term stores. My income is low enough that our goofy IRS thinks they have to give me other peoples hard earned money when I file my taxes. When I hear about the families struggling to make it on food stamps my mouth waters at what we could do with that amount, but I have never and don’t plan to ever collect unemployment or food stamps.

    My interests in prepping comes from a love of learning new skills, being self sufficient (in short to medium term), and a love of the simpler life. I have been learning and stocking up for about 7 years (on top of another decade or so of backpacking). So I didn’t come to prepping out of a fear of the last batch “world ending” current events.

    When I read the news, I have to agree that it seems like things are out of control. But I can’t imagine how people felt during say: the civil war, the pandemic of 1918, the great war, the great depression, world war II, the cuban missile crisis, and hell thats just the history of we privileged rich Americans. And then I realize, ahhhhh, it’s not the end of times, it is just the norm on this terrible and beautiful imperfect planet.

    Everybody for thousands of years lived life, raised families, and survived in situations tougher than mine. Now its my turn. So I try to tune my life more towards what was a wise way to live 50, 100, 150 years ago. Live below your means, have enough on hand for a long hard winter, be awake, aware, and ready to defend you and yours. I will not choose to become a subsistence farmer, largely because I would probably make a poor one. Since the dawn of civilization many people produced the food, but many people found other important ways they could be useful. I don’t plan on seeing TEOTWAWKI in my lifetime, but if it comes, I plan to keep a flexible mind and use my preps to help my family, some friends, and give us a few months to plan the smartest next steps.

    • Backwoods Prepper says:

      Now that is the greatest why not answer I have read. That is what I think prepping is all about what you truly think may happen. Thank you MikeM

    • Mike M, I share your thoughts. Thanks for articulating them so well.
      Some thoughts on what I have read from others up to this point.
      Who is this so called goblin horde? (I prefer goblins rather then golden). How do they develop?
      The process begins as they begin to realize that there is no help coming from the outside. No food or water or fuel. It begins when they see Law Enforcement and other Responders stay home to take care of their own They see no one to either help them or to stop them.
      Stir in large quantities of famine, pestilence, and death. Add lots of alcohol and drugs, looting, raping and murder and follow up with deadly power struggles between newly formed groups and pre-existing gangs. Let it all simmer for a few weeks, maybe a month, as they fight, rob, and kill amongst themselves for the basics of life.
      Within a matter of weeks the majority will be dead. The remaining population should be the strongest, meanest, most savage and least human, they will survive the longest and gangs will become tribes developed around a leader that would make Darwin proud. However the truth is they will be weakened by bad water, lack of food, and disease. They will have no fuel and little ammunition.
      When they finally do come out of the city they will number in the hundreds not the millions and initially take the path of least resistence. Plan your security and fields of fire accordingly. The second attack will be better thought out. Plan your defense with this in mind.

      • Sw't Tater says:

        Now, this post spoke to me,
        While I am not beyond reach of the masses, I am far enough out, off the easy route. the masses should be thinned a mite before they arrive.With no fuel in vision, and little else in open sight…and those we love near…the bear will be in the den.

        • Sometimes I think people dont realisticly estimate the nature of the goblins. They are after all not prepared and they will not survive in large numbers.

          • Ron, In our best preparations some of us know there will
            be unforeseen severe problems. Yes, many will die and
            diseases will be rampant .All each of us can do is to prepare as completely as possible and pray and gather a few other folks /neighbors or kin for mutual aid. Of course it all depends on what type of disasters occur and if they are multiple.Arlene

  23. There is no bug out for me as I live on an Island. It is located 15 miles out in the ocean and we are dependent on a ferry for every single thing that we need to live. That is why for the last five or six years I have been prepping to return to the times and life style of my grandparents and great grandparents. Electricity would be a thing of the past for most folks. But we have many solar cells set up and I have a ten K windmill that makes plenty of K’s for three houses in our small compound, three sons and a daughter and 6 grandchildren. There will be plenty of firewood for at least 8-10 years as most of the giant houses are owned by absentee owners from NYC, DC, Boston, etc.. who will probably not make it here if TSHTF. Also own a 32′ single masted sail boat that will get us out there fishing the deep for food. The community is made up of approx. 850 souls in the winter and 10,000 on any day in the summer. Hopefully, most of them will have been on their way home when armageddon strikes.
    I have enough food stockpiled to feed all 19 of the immediate family for up to one year, as we keep a very large garden, incubate and raise our own chickens and Narragansett turkeys, and keep, raise, butcher and package 4-6 hogs annually. Also we are infested with whitetail deer out here but they will all disappear within the first two years.We have a couple thousand canning jars of all sizes to preserve the food. We are more than well prepared to defend our lives, food, and homes. There willbe no surprises here except for those on the receiving end. Absolutely love this site. Stay Strong all you Wolves!

  24. Tactical G-Ma says:

    BP and Cubbies,
    We all want to be prepared for the unexpected, regardless of what it is. We all make choices. Your choice is no less valid than mine if you and I are informed. I have met people living in Brooklyn, who could not, would not survive living anywhere else. I know people in the Northern Tier who could not, would not survive any where else. There is no right or wrong, just right or wrong for the individual. We are all different. I do believe there will be a great many people who remain in a familiar environment if possible should anything go wonky. I am most likely to survive in an environment in which I am familiar. Jusr my opinion.

  25. I grew up poor and in a small rural place with a small population and a larger city (which still had a small population) nearby. Unfortunately, it has been “discovered” and spoiled. What I remember as clean and green is now cement and other ugly, dead things. I miss what was, but sometimes have to question myself if I am seeing things from an “uneducated” perspective. After all, it was my parents and their generation who grew up Depression poor. I was just a kid in the 50’s and 60’s who heard the stories. They taught us to get an education and go where the jobs are. They are the ones who knew and daily practiced the stuff that is all over the ‘net now.

    So that’s exactly what I’ve done. I got an education and the way that works out is that you have to chase the jobs. Jobs don’t usually chase you. You can’t survive in a place with no jobs unless you inherit land and are very, very, very frugal. Even that might not work out quite so well these days.

    I’m trying to get home, literally and metaphorically. Not the exact place where I was hatched, because the “discovery” of the place of my genetic roots by unnamed others has polluted my home. Did you know you used to be able to drink water straight off the mountain? I do, and I did. ah, it was sweet and cold and let you know Mama Nature (God) was in charge. Each day in the mountains was a day in church. That is inside of me and that’s what I want to be and where I want to be again.

    If I can relearn what my father knew, I’d be rich no matter where I lived. I could survive no matter where I lived. So that is my goal. To re-learn what my father knew, and to find a place in the country where I can reconnect to the land.

    My current area isn’t a large metropolitan complex, but I’m closer to home than I used to be. If all goes well, and the Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise… I’ll get home. But for now I’m fresh out of choices. I hope what I do now is enough and fear it won’t be. I guess I’ll just have to do the best I can and keep prayed up.

    Here’s hoping that our fears are unjustified and we can survive what feels like coming bad times. Maybe we’re wrong. I hope so. There’s no crystal ball, and no shortage of theories. Best wishes to all, whether you live in cement, sand, ice, rock or green.

  26. This is a great, thought-provoking article. I think the core answer is that not all suburbias are alike. And there are good reasons (work and family) to stay in suburbia. That said, I have been entertaining the idea of moving further out in the country–less house, more land. But it is just so nice to jump on our bicycles and ride to the store or ride to the park and have a picnic. For me, the quality of life is better in suburbia than out in the country. Owning land means a lot of upkeep. Keeping animals and a large garden takes a lot of time and energy.

    I wonder how many other people struggle with the question of whether moving out to the country would be better.

    • Backwoods Prepper says:

      Bam Bam too much up keep for you I don’t believe that lol. I missed things like that too for the longest time. I lived on the gulf coast I miss shrimping and gator hunting. There was an event planned every weekend now there is a to do list for every weekend lol but I love it.

  27. Rider of Rohan says:

    Backwoods, I’m currently looking for a good location for a retreat. I do live in a small town(10,000 people) and have a large lot, but I know for sure it’s not sustainable long-term. I’ve got to get out of here, I know it’s a deathtrap. I’ve been thinking along the same lines as you for a year now, and I’ve done my best to convince my extended family to move out of here as well. I think I’m making some progress in that area. All this said, I am fairly well prepared, and could last quite a while if security held up. But that’s the problem, even though this is a small town, we have gangs and lots of drugs. And a large number of outsiders who use the town as a staging area for regional distribution, mainly because law enforcement in this small town can’t handle them. Your article really hits home for me. Thanks.

  28. SurvivorDan says:

    You are absolutely right BP. I stay only because my parents (in their eighties) have vowed to die in their current home and nothing I can say will make them move. I was planning last year to move way out into the White Mountains of AZ or to the Philippines (quite an odd pair of choices, eh?).
    But I cannot leave them. so until I can persuade them I have no choice but to remain nearby. I live in Pinal county but still too close to the greater Phoenix metro area. My folks are 20 miles closer to downtown Phoenix and their home and subdivision is utterly indefensible. I have loaded their home with preps ( feigning a lack of storage space here) and some firearms. They scoff but humor me. I can only hope to move them here if I have enough warning.
    Folks who survived a great depression. a world war, the Korean War, the Cold War and Jimmy Carter are not easily persuaded to cut and run. They merely wave off my fears as ‘kid stuff’.
    And believe it or not…….two eighty-five year olds can be set in their ways and extremely stubborn!
    The greatest generation fears little.
    Hard to argue with their life experiences.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      BP: I wasn’t implying that I think that finding a self sufficient, defensible retreat is akin to ‘cutting and running’ as though it was a negative thing.
      On the contrary I think that what you have done is admirable and prudent. I was merely expressing my parent’s attitude.
      I’m all for finding a defensible site and area. it is only prudent and advisable in these troubled times.
      Thanks for sharing your prudent far-sighted actions and posing such an important question for the rest of us.

  29. Great question-I have reflected on that same issue for those that live in the City areas. We are blessed to live on a small farm in a rural area-but I still believe many people will come the distance. I would like to live
    in a very rural isolated area. Our age and ill health keeps us here.(and grandchildren ) We will need to defend this place when the time comes.
    I am looking forward to hearing your question answered . I imagine lack of time, $, support from a partner/spouse or family are all issues.
    Good for you for having the courage to have moved when you did. God bless us all. Arlene
    PS I agree Iran /N Korea will send a nuke that will wipe out our electrical grid.

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

    Where I live, exchanging suburbs for rurals often comes with a price – crime. Home invasions in the rurals is a daily occurance, with burglaries and vandalism also making a strong showing. One of my coworkers used to live about 15 miles out of town. Her husband worked from the house so it was always occupied. Four big dogs too. They never had trouble, but every single one of their neighbors got hit in the three years they lived there.

    I guess if you have good neighbors who have made cooperatives to watch out for each other, it can work well. Otherwise – isolation comes with a price.

    • Backwoods Prepper says:

      I sure am glad it’s not like that here. This area had a problem with prescription pain killer addiction for awhile. There was some petty theft but never any major crime. That is about to wind down now. I never take the key out of my 4 wheeler or my vehicle. Some guy’s came by looking for the drug dealing neighbors but I’m sure they won’t be back.

      • Sw't Tater says:

        We didn’t lock our doors until the 1970’s when there was a neighbor shot @ his front door. Now lock everything, because of the illegal drug use of some children turned loose to dictate their own life, too early…they haven’t robbed the wrong house yet. Several in the area are new to us, private..and from what I can see they are takin’ care of themselves.
        Those reared here, get ready for winter every summer and vice versa. ..even tho resources are always tight, they are used to making do. There are many such areas in this land.

  31. Encourager says:

    Thanks so much for the article, BP. Your questions are long overdue.

    Many of you have touched on a very important point – age and health. I have dreamed turning our home into a more productive place, with a cow or two, chickens, turkeys and maybe a pig or two. Also, planting wheat, oats, barley, and a huge garden.

    The reality? I turn 65 in two months. My health is not that great. I cannot manage even a large garden, the labor is too much for me. DH is in the same boat. We have two sons, not married, one living nearby and one out of state. I can count on them coming home if they have enough time to do it, and realize TSHTF. The one nearby would make it, but the other one? Only with God’s miracles.

    I would love to find like-minded people to form a community with. I would be happy to live in a small home or a condo, with access to a community garden and community cows, chickens, etc. I would love to find a place like I described where everyone looked out for everyone else, yet each family has privacy and a home to themselves. I should point out I would want like-minded folks as far as Christianity is concerned. I do have many talents, can cook well, bake, can, sew, knit, homeschool, etc. My dh is a woodworker, who has invented many items just for fun. He has lots of knowledge with mechanical and electrical stuff.

    So does the pack know of any such places? I would be shocked if you do. I guess I am describing a dream, not reality, aren’t I. Sigh….

    • Backwoods Prepper says:

      I long for a community like that. We are 1 mile from the paved road around the side of a mountian. There are 6 houses at the end of this road 2 belong to me 2 belong to the MIL and two belong to some elderly neighbors. the neighbors extra house is empty I’m in the process of buying it. The MILs other house is occupied by my wifes no good BIL wife and three babies and my other house was not really a good fixer upper so I made it into a barn. I have rabbit cages and rooms of different breeds of chickens. One day we may have a small community of like minded people.

      • Encourager says:

        You may not realize it, Backwoods Prepper, but you are blessed.

        As for the not-so-great BIL, remember the Bible verse that states “He who does not work, does not eat.” Wouldn’t take too long for him to help, if he is hungry enough.

    • Encourager-your dream is our dream also .We live in upstate NY.
      Our health limits us greatly but we have land and animals and a garden. If you wish to correspond just ask MD for my e mail address .One of our adult children lives here but works off the farm and the other lives 1 hour away. Praying we will all be together when the SHTF. We have land and others need it.They have youth and we need their help.

  32. Backwoods – we used to live outside Wash DC (ugh) but packed up one year ago and moved to Maine – as far out of Dodge as we could get. Everything has worked out as if it were ordained. Our house sold in 2 days when we thought it might take 6 months. We had trouble working a deal on the property we wanted so we hauled off and looked at a log house on land at the other end of the county – and bought it! We want to raise berries and the property was wooded so it was a gamble (soil was good but it seemed hilly). Since we had a lot of dying trees we had loggers in and lo and behold, we now have a field near the house for planting our fruit! Every time I wonder if we did the right thing, something happens to re-affirm our decision.

  33. AZ Rookie Prepper says:

    It is difficult to speak for others when saying “why” or “why not” move to a more rural, defensible location than “suburbia”. I can speak for myself in that at my age, with my physical limitations, with my financial situation, with my family needs…for right now it makes sense to stay where I am. Do I want to? No. I would love to have a few acres, remotely located away from the zombie horde path of travel. Lots of garden space, lots of fruit and nut trees, space for raising livestock and hunting areas. Live water to fish and use as a second water source. Would be ideal….in the meantime, gotta make do the best I can with what I have and where I am…best of luck to all in obtaining their “perfect” location.

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