So, you’ve been researching how to prep for a SHTF or other disaster and the experts recommend that you have a bug out location or even better a prepper hideout or retreat. But what makes a good prepper hideout or bug out location? The answer is of course different for everyone but there are some common qualities to consider for your bug out location prepper retreat that can help make it easier for your family to survive and even thrive in the aftermath of a SHTF event.
What to Look for in a Prepper Hideout/Bug Out Location
Before you even begin to look for a prepper hideout or bug out location, there are several criteria that you need to be aware of and consider. Keep in mind, it’s going to be very hard to find that perfect bug out location or prepper hideout if you don’t have a clear vision of what you want. So the best way to find and equip your prepper hideout bug out location is to determine your needs and then find a property that meets as many of those needs as possible.
Below are the criteria to evaluate when looking for a prepper retreat or bug out location. The extent to which each of these are important will depend on your family or group, your skill level, and how aggressively you want to prepare.
Distance and Isolation are major factors to finding the perfect bug out location or prepper retreat. Distance from major roads and interstates should ideally be at least 10 miles to reduce the likelihood that looters or other desperate people looking for supplies will come across your property.
Your bug out location should also be isolated and away from other likely threats such as nuclear plants, major urban cities, unstable fault lines, and areas where natural disasters could wipe out or damage your bug out location. A bug out location should be close enough that you and your group members could make it there on foot if necessary.
Find a property in a community of like-minded people or find a property that is isolated enough to not become an obvious target to every desperate passerby.
Access to Unlimited Water
One of the key criteria if you are trying to find and equip your prepper hideout or bug out location is easy access to unlimited water. Human beings of average health status can only expect to live for about three days without fresh water. And the effects of dehydration will limit your ability to accomplish necessary survival tasks beginning earlier than that. Make sure your chosen bug out location has a resource for unlimited water. This can be through a spring, a well, lake/pond, year-round creek, or rainwater collection system.
The best plans for access to fresh water will include several alternative plans for drinking water and the equipment to purify water for drinking. The best water systems will be those that cannot be tainted or otherwise controlled or cut off by someone outside of your property. A year-round creek is great, but try to find a property as close to the origin of the creek as possible to reduce possibility of accidental or intentional contamination by others.
Ability to Produce Your Own Food
No matter which prepper retreat or bug out property you choose, you must plan to both stockpile food and to produce your own food following an extended or indefinite SHTF event. There are many methods to do this including growing your own garden, planting a food forest, edible landscaping, foraging wild edibles, raising livestock for food, or setting up an aquaponics or hydroponic system.
Do your research in advance to determine the food producing system that works best for your family or group. Consider the climate for the area where your property is located and choose a system that will work well with the growing season and climate for that area. Plant fruit and nut trees, and berry bushes first as they can take several years to begin producing food.
One thing that is inevitable in a SHTF situation is an invasion by intruders who are willing or desperate enough to harm you and your family to get whatever supplies they believe you have. In times of trouble, the best defense is advanced warning and the element of surprise. Make sure whatever location you choose for your bug out location or prepper hideout has a perimeter that you can defend properly against potential intruders.
Use fencing, gates, defensive landscaping, and early alert systems around your perimeter to prevent and at least slow down anyone trying to get onto your property. Once you’ve secured the perimeter, turn your attention to your house or shelter and livestock buildings (if any). Reinforce doors and windows, remove shrubbery and anything else that blocks your line of sight and enables intruders to hide. If possible build a safe room within your prepper retreat to be used in the event your shelter is breached.
Even if you are isolated as described above, there is still always the possibility that passerby or even roving gangs of looters will find your location and try to take what you have. Be prepared to defend your bug out location with weapons and any other means at your disposal.
As we mentioned briefly above, try to find a prepper hideout or bug out retreat that is in an area where you have like-minded neighbors. The more prepared your neighbors are, the less likely they will be to try and take what you have. Finding a location where your neighbors are like-minded means you can begin to build a network of people that you trust to barter with for things you need and people who may be willing to work together to ensure all of you are better prepared to survive.
Ways to Find a Prepper Hideout
Unless you already own the perfect bug out property, the next step is to actually find available properties to buy if your budget allows for it. There are numerous ways to seek out properties that could become your prepper hideout.
- Locate like-minded people in your desired area and get recommendations
- Research properties through online realtor sites
- Talk to Neighbors and Friends Who May Have Property for Sale
- Identify and Monitor Homestead Property Groups via Facebook
- Work with a Realtor who Specializes in Prepper or Off-Grid Properties
Buying a property for your prepper hideout is the ideal way to do it. But the reality is that not everyone has the resources to run out and purchase property in addition to their current home. If your resources don’t allow you to purchase a bug out property, take heart, there are still ways to make a bug out plan.
The first thing to consider is whether or not you have any trusted family, relatives, or neighbors with property that would make an ideal bug out location or prepper hideout. If so, talk to them about working out a plan that benefits both everyone and gives you a bug out location if needed. Perhaps you agree to stockpile extra food, do extra work around their property to get it prepared, etc. in exchange for being able to come there in a time of need. Don’t wait till you need to bug out and expect to show up and be taken in.
Second, check a local map to find state or national parks that are within reasonable bug out range. Research how to bug out in an RV and consider if it’s feasible to bug out to a remote area of a state or national park. In a true SHTF event, these areas can provide a temporary haven. Plan to carry most of your supplies in your vehicle but take several trips in advance of your bug out and bury supply caches along the route and at your destination where they won’t be found by passerby.
Just remember two is one and one is none and when using land you don’t own as a bug out location, you risk someone else finding your caches or showing up with the same idea so have a backup destination and plan in mind.
Additional Ways to Equip Your Bug Out Location
When it comes to how to equip your prepper hideout, there are a lot of factors that will determine exactly what you need. In most cases you will want to be prepared for an extended grid down situation and ideally prepare for an indefinite grid down situation. Below is a list of the equipment and supplies you may need:
- Reliable Shelter to protect people and any livestock from risk of exposure due to the elements. Be sure to consider heating and cooling needs without relying on traditional power.
- Alternative power system such as solar power, wind, or hydro power.
- Nontraditional cooking methods that don’t rely on power (solar oven, brick oven, rocket stove, etc.)
- Waste Sanitation Method (composting toilet, pit style latrine, greywater containment, etc.)
- Hand Tools and Manual Equipment to replace any power tools or electric appliances you currently rely on. Items such as a hand crank meat grinder, grain mill, coffee grinder, pedal operated washing machine, and can opener will be invaluable in an extended grid down situation.
Do you have a bug out location or prepper retreat already in the works? Share your tips and methods for how to find and equip your prepper hideout or bug out location in the comments below.
A mother of four and grandmother of nine boys and one girl, Megan is living the lifestyle any prepper would want. Gardening, homesteading and constantly planning for emergencies big and small, she’s a beacon of knowledge in the prepping community.