Bugging out should be considered your last option rather than your primary plan of action in most disaster scenarios.
Are you already a prepper? Then you know how much food and gear you’ve stored and organized for times of distress, and you know damn well there is no way to relocate this supply without significant effort, expense, and exposure.
Once you leave your house during an emergency requiring “Bugging Out” KISS EVERYTHING YOU LEAVE BEHIND. It will be ransacked, stolen, pilfered, etc… Of course, if the world is falling apart faster than a two-dollar hooker on Saturday night, who cares about your lawnmower and fine china anyway. What I’m talking about, however, is your supplies and food reserves, and blessed defendable shelter.
Bugging out vs. Bugging in really does depend on many factors including; your location, food and WATER SUPPLY, age, medical needs & concerns, skill level, immediate dangers, the potential for rapid restoration of order, weather, time of year, and dozens of other factors you probably haven’t considered yet.
In all honesty, your bug out plan has everything to do with your PRIMARY SURVIVAL PLAN.
What’s your primary survival plan?
Your PSP should be a way of life already, and survival shouldn’t be the goal. Ideally, if the SHTF you should really only have to shift to a heightened state of awareness and make minor changes to your daily routine. You should already be in a secure location with at least a year’s supply of food, supplies, medicine, etc, and access to fresh water. Now, I know that for many this is simply not possible. This is where mitigation of the ideal scenario comes into play. Most of us live in cities and an agrarian way of rural life (which is the healthiest and most ideal to the human condition) is simply not possible. So…Given your current lot, what are you going to do?
1. Hunker in and rely on neighbors and self-reliance efforts in a small knit community?
2. Or roam the hillsides, hunting and relying on nature and the small amount of food, medicine, and supplies you brought with you? I will tell you that although as romantic and heroic as the latter sounds, it gets real old, real quick. Anyone who’s been in the military can attest to this. If you believe you are going to extract yourself from modern-day society and live off the land relying on your equipment and gadgets, I will tell you now, you are not going to make it very long. Hunters and outdoorsmen can tell you the best about bugs, blisters, accidents, medical emergencies, unforeseen weather, fatigue, boredom, etc…
That being said, cutting out and hitting the high-country may be just the action necessary to save your life and give you a fighting chance should your primary residence become compromised when tanks or hoards of savage inner-city gangs start rolling down your street.
First things first. There is no one plan or set of instructions that I or anyone else can give you that will guarantee your success in surviving a SHTF scenario, there are simply too many variables. This is going to require you to INVEST IN YOUR OWN SURVIVAL. Yes, you are going to have to learn, practice, and live a lifestyle that will ensure the highest rate of success for the continuation of your very life. AGAIN, the goal here is not “survival.” The goal in your mind should be the continuation of lifestyle. If you have to bug out, something usually went wrong.
Of course, this means that you SHOULD HAVE PREPARED like your ancestors, having chosen a suitable/defendable shelter and stored away that which you would require for the future. But, should the SHTF:
When To Bug Out
Deciding when to bug out is a personal judgment call. It will depend on many factors but the primary one in an urban setting will most likely be the threat of death or harm due to civil unrest and hungry neighbors. Of course, foreign tanks rolling down the street lighting up every other house would prob cause one to skin out as well.
The single most important aspect of deciding when to bug out is having access to reliable Intel on the current events surrounding your situation. You will NEED to know EVERYTHING you possibly can in order to make an informed decision. Most likely if things are getting to that point the internet has long gone down and electricity will probably be spotty as well. YOU WILL NEED COMS. Communications. A CB and Shortwave radio at the very least. Preferable a HAM radio and the ability to power it if you are hunkered down. If you have the ability acquire news and intel you will have a serious advantage and even be in a position to negotiate and barter with that intel.
Lets say you decide its time to bug out. How many other people will be having the same thought at that particular time? Ever try and leave the city on the 4th of July weekend? Now, compound that traffic by a thousand. Other things to consider.
- Are the conditions going on near you temporary or has there been a steady increase in entropy, danger, and chaos?
- Local law enforcement and Federal Curfews.
- Are stores being restocked with food and supplies?
- Has the supply chain been broken?
- Are the electricity and water still on in your area?
- Has the law broken down where you are at?
- Is there a trend of gasoline shortages? Is it getting worse?
- Is there an increase in civil unrest, riots, fires, and murders in your area? This usually escalates at night and dies down by morning. Is this civil unrest making its way towards you?
- Do you have enough weapons and ammo to hold off attackers and looters until peace is restored?
- Do you have enough weapons and ammo to shoot your way out of any danger you will come along during your bug-out?
- Do you have to stomach to kill as many people as necessary to ensure your survival and that of your family?
- Weather – Are you going to leave the dead of winter?
- Perhaps following official instructions is your best chance of survival. Then again, it may not be.
If you decide to leave to late you will most likely meet bad fortune once you leave the safety and security of your residence. If you get turned around and make it back home you are likely to find your neighbors in your house pilfering through your supplies and personal effects. AND THAT WILL GO BAD FOR SURE.
However, is it possible to leave to early? You would most likely make it out of the city, but again, what you’ve left behind will most likely be gone forever.
Where to bug out to
Where will you go? Is your plan to head up to the woods where you took the family camping last? That nice quiet spot away from the city where the deer wandered into camp while you were sipping your morning coffee. Let me be the first to tell you, and this may blow your whole plan to hell right here and now, but that is most people’s plan. That quiet camping spot will be filled with a hundred other families. It will most likely be fortified and people will probably have started “packing up” into tribal alliances by the time you get out there. If there is a disease outbreak, you will most likely be turned away for fear of infecting their group. Any water resources will have been claimed and man’s basic territorial instinct will be in full swing. Emotions will be ramped up, people will be terrified and behaving at their worst out of the need and desire to survive. So, where will you go?
Are you going to bug out only to roam the hills and eek out a sustenance in a post zombie infected world? I have more news for you, you will not last long.
Here is what will need to happen if you are to survive. You will need to head to a prearranged place to people whom you know and trust where you have already made arrangements. If you have to bug out, this is your most ideal option. Anything less will begin adding risk to your chances of survival.
Things to consider when planning to bug out
- Natural road hazards, floods, blizzards, accidents that will not be cleared, roadside fires.
- Available fuel along the way.
- Will money be accepted for trade where you are going?
- Do you have children? Can they make the journey?
- Can you handle the stress of it and ensure that your family remains safe?
- Will bugging-out put you and your family in more danger than staying put?
- Do you have to ability to walk should your vehicle become disabled due to fuel loss, caltrops, gunfire, etc?
- If you do have to abandon your vehicle and all your survival gear you will now be on foot at the mercy of the elements, bandits, and chaos. You will now only posses the ability to salvage what you can carry on your back. How long can you make it like this? Have you planned for this as well? Just turn on CNN sometime and watch the refugees coming in from war-torn nations with backpacks and handbags.
- Do you know the lay of the land between your bug-out starting point and the final destination?
- Roadblocks – either government attempting to control the movement of the population due to civil unrest or disease or, and most likely, thieves and murders blocking roads to bush-wack you and take your supplies and women.
- What are your medication needs? Can you procure that where you are headed? What is your plan to deal with this?
Remember is to trust your instincts.
If your gut is telling you it is time to skin out, listen to it.
Our subconscious minds often come to solid conclusions well before our active minds can muddle through all of the information. Bugging out can put you and your family in significant danger, whether from the actual crisis at hand or the people reacting to it in a less than an ideal manner. But, the danger of staying at home might be greater. Again, NO ONE WILL BE ABLE TO DECIDE THIS EXCEPT FOR YOURSELF WHEN THAT TIME COMES.
- Be prepared to kill. Make this decision now, your life will depend on it.
- Know that you can only live on the road for so long before you will meet tragedy.
- If you think you are going to become a highwayman and kill and take other’s resources as a survival plan, I have news for you. This will come to an end real soon. People will be banned together and hunt you down and exterminate you promptly. You may survive off of the death of others for a short period of time, but Man has been dealing with this sort of thing since the beginning of time.
- Get with family and friends and MAKE A PLAN NOW. Have a place to go. Maybe go in on a piece of property together and hash everything out ahead of time.
- Plan for your pets, kids, elderly, etc.
- Don’t forget your papers and legal documents & medication.