The discussion of whether to Bug In or Bug Out in the event of a SHTF moment has gone on for a long time, and likely will continue. This article is not to tell you one way is better than another, but to simply discuss the reasons for either option. Everyone will have to weigh the possibilities for either action and determine which course of action is best for them. Of course sometimes it is only a short term bug out, like evacuation due to forest fires, which makes the decision much simpler.
Will you be Bugging In or Bugging Out? First let’s look at a few things to consider.
- If you decide to Bug Out, where are you going? Bugging Out implies you are leaving your home either by vehicle or on foot for another destination that you feel is safer and can support you and your family. By support I mean provide food, shelter, and water…..you know, the essentials.
- Do you have the equipment and supplies needed to travel there, as well as the health to get to the location on foot if needed?
- Once there, do you have the equipment and supplies needed to live there for a period of time?
These are important questions to ask yourself. Most people can’t just walk out their front door into the wilderness and survive for weeks. Many people today are also not in the physical or mental shape needed to walk more than 20 miles with a fully loaded backpack of 45 pounds and then survive off of the land once there. You need to be able to get to your BOL, and believing you can drive all the way there may end in disaster. There are many things that can block your travel, from natural disaster causes to man-made causes. If a bridge is out, how will you get across with all of your gear?
If you answered no to the first question your best option may be to Bug In. Not having a known place to go can be just about as dangerous as Bugging In for some people. You walk out into some random woods you will need shelter and a water source at a minimum. Can you build a shelter or carry one with you? A tent to hold 4 people for any season can be big and bulky. If you answered no to the second and third questions your best option may be to Bug In. There are certainly hazards to Bugging In, especially depending on where you live, but unless you’re Daniel Boone in disguise the likelihood of you making it living in the woods and especially in an unknown location is not good. A person’s health is a huge consideration here also. If your 40 pounds overweight and it’s all in the gut, you are not set up well to succeed.
If you answered yes to the first question you have taken a large step to Bugging Out being a possible option in the event of a SHTF event. Current thought says ideally you want some place that is isolated to go, but a friends place in the country can be a viable option also. Main point here is someplace where you will likely be the only person. Less people means less possibilities of trouble. If you only answered yes to the second and third questions you have a good start of roughing it for some time. Take enough food and get lucky to find a dependable water source and shelter, you might last 3 weeks or so, longer if you find food there.
Do you have to have a designated BOL? The answer is no. A person can do their homework for their area and possibly find a location that is somewhat secluded with a good, dependable source of water. There are many State parks and public land to investigate as a possible BOL in the event it gets so bad you have to leave your home. In general I would stay away from State parks though, because they will likely be a popular destination. If you feel the need to leave your home for the woods, others will feel the same way. There are some State parks that are very large and it could be possible to hike back into it enough to be secluded, but there are still risks. Smells and noise can carry for long distances, especially depending on how the wind is blowing, and the make-up of the terrain.
Of course I asked only 3 questions. For each person there is much more to be considered. The make-up of your family and pets; as well as medical conditions and a host of other considerations. Like so much of preparing, it is a very personal decision that needs to be made whether to Bug In or Bug Out. If you have chosen to Bug Out the key is when to go. You wait too long and it’s hard to get out, if you go at the drop of a hat you may be making the trip for no reason. If you are preparing to Bug Out, it would be a good idea to do some practice runs. Treat it like a spur of the moment camping trip and throw what you think you would take in the car and head out. Be mindful that whatever you throw in the car you will need to be able to carry if it’s needed though.
Stay active, pay attention, and get prepared.