When faced with an emergency situation or disaster we have to decide whether to shelter in place or grab our bug out bags hit the road. As preppers, we think a lot about bugging out. From which vehicles to choose, how to make bunkers, to how to create the ultimate bug out bag.
We also spend a lot of time deciding what supplies we should stockpile in our homes so we’ll be prepared for an emergency where we decide to shelter in place.
For most of us, building our own bunker in the woods isn’t a financially practical choice. But bugging out just to get out of town, without proper preparation, is hard to manage. There are a lot of factors to consider before making such a choice.
Pros and Cons…
- Advantages of Bugging In. For most of us, bugging in is the obvious choice. Most people don’t have remote cabins or a properly prepared location to bug out to. So finding a safe place, other than our own homes or with family, can seem impossible, especially in an emergency situation where a lot of desperate people have the same thing in mind.
Living out in the elements is hard, even if you have some experience with it. Once the food in your bug out bag is gone you’ll be forced to live off the land. And, unlike our ancestors, most of us just aren’t prepared to handle that for any length of time.
But by “bugging in”, and staying in our own homes, we still have all of the supplies and tools we’ve collected to help make us more comfortable and help keep us sane.
- Bugging Out. If you’re fortunate enough have your own prepared bug out location, like a cabin in the woods, bugging out could be the best choice in many situations. You would need to stockpile MRE supplies, just like in your own home, and that could get expensive. But it may very well be worth it.
The main advantage of having a second, safe location is that you can get out of town quickly and wait out the emergency situation there. Then you can return home as soon as it’s safe to do so. But if things do go from bad to worse you’ll have the advantage of being safely away.
The obvious drawback here is the cost involved. You’ll have to consider the cost of the shelter, alternative power, and water supply and keeping two stockpiles for both home and your bug out location.
- Bugging Out With No Prepared Location. For the majority of us, who have no safe place to go in an emergency, bugging out presents a lot of problems. But we shouldn’t abandon the idea of bugging out altogether. We just need to get more creative.
For example, most emergency situations affect big cities more strongly than smaller towns. So finding a temporary living situation in a less populated place, even short term, could be an alternative to consider.
If you’re planning to live off the land you’ll obviously need land. So if you don’t own land of your own you need to keep in mind that there’s a good chance you could be forced to leave your location and any shelter you’ve built at some point.
- Natural Disasters. When a natural disaster strikes you may not have any choice but to leave your home and bug out. For instance, in the case of Hurricane Katrina, the government ordered a general evacuation. Unfortunately, there were those who failed to follow the evacuation orders, and that choice cost some of them their lives.
When natural disasters strike, it often makes more sense to just get out of the way of danger. And that’s why you need to have a bug out plan ready, so you can take action ASAP. Your plan should include what you’ll need to take with you, where you’re going to go, and how you can safely get there.
- Social Unrest. One of the most frightening potential bug out situations could be social unrest. If society suffers any kind of major breakdowns, such as an economic collapse, then violence could become a big problem. You may be prepared to defend yourself against danger if you bug in. But can you do it forever? The preparations you’ve made in advance will help you decide if it’s safer to bug in or to bug out.
The big cities will be the first, and worst, hit by the violence caused by social collapse. So it’s best to bug out to a small town far away from any big cities and be prepared to move fast to avoid the panicking masses.
Bugging out in a situation like this can be very dangerous. An obviously well-stocked vehicle could invite unwanted attention from people with their own self-interests at heart. You’ll want to avoid this attention to either yourself or the supplies you’re carrying
There is no one bug out plan that will work for every possible scenario, but the better prepared you are the better your chances of survival are too. So make your plans and practice trial runs to figure out where you need to make adjustments. Always be working to make your plan better!