One of the most commonly asked questions that I receive has to do with the topic of Bugging Out. While some of our readers have managed to escape the trappings of the big city, most of our readers still live in highly populated urban areas. These are often the people who want to know how to Bug Out into the Wilderness once the SHTF.
Hold the crazy train, you want to do what?
While bugging out is a real possibility that you may someday face, I would never advice anyone just bug out into the wilderness. For even the most diehard outdoorsman, living in the wilderness full-time is something that most of us would never advise doing. In my opinion, you’re setting yourself up for disaster, and it’s not a realistic survival plan that anyone should have in mind.
Bugging Out without a Place to go is Not a Plan, It’s a Death Sentence!
In the event you ever have to get the hell out of dodge, you must have a plan of action. I hear way too many people saying they are going to “head out into the wilderness” once the SHTF; sadly most of these people haven’t spent a single night outdoors, and likely won’t last longer than 24 hours in a wilderness survival situation.
Are you saying there’s never a good reason to Bug Out?
Not at all; in fact, I think the people who swear they will “shelter in place no matter what”, are just as foolish as those who think they are going to live out some sort of extended episode of Survivorman.
The Pros & Cons of Bugging In vs Bugging Out
All too often I see people get hung up on the notion of bugging out. Many people foolishly put themselves into one of two categories, those that believe bugging out is the only answer, and those that say sheltering in place is the only way to go.
In my opinion, you must be prepared for, and thoroughly understand the pros and cons of both options.
Bugging out considerations: When Getting Out of Dodge is your only option.
The moment you decide to bug out, you must realize that you put yourself at immediate risk. Your safety and security, your ability to sustain yourself, and your ability to protect yourself from the elements are immediately compromised.
In my opinion, bugging out is almost always a worst case scenario situation. In order to do it right you must have:
- A detailed evacuation plan and you must know it like the back of your hand. This means constantly reviewing your route, practicing your get away, and knowing what things need to happen before you make the decision to bug out.
- A bug out location: Leaving without a place to go is not a plan. If you plan on bugging out, you need to have a predetermined bug out location or emergency shelter already in place. Planning on living in the wild, unless you are an extremely experienced outdoorsman, is a recipe for disaster. Wilderness living should only be considered if you have an adequate shelter already in place.
- A bug out bag filled with everything you need to make it to your Bug Out Location.
- You must know your routes, and you need to have a plan B, C, D, etc… What if you’re routes are blocked or impassable? Do you know how to find food and water along your route? These are all thing you need to consider and plan for now.
Bugging in considerations: Staying safe by sheltering in place:
If at all possible, sheltering in place is usually the safest option. First, most of your supplies are probably going to be at your primary residence. Second, in most cases you will have a higher level of security inside your home than you will traveling out on the street.
While sheltering in place is often the safest bet, there are some considerations that you need to keep in mind.
- You must always be prepared to leave. No matter how bad you want to stay, there will be times and situations that make it impossible to stay. If a category 5 hurricane is barreling towards your location, the last thing you want to do is shelter in place.
- Home security needs to be a top priority. The ability to defend your home, from those that wish to do you harm, is one of the most important considerations that you need to prepare for. From Realistic Self Defense Training, to fortifying your home, you must make home security a top priority.
- Neighbors may come knocking. During a SHTF situation, you’re not so prepared neighbors are going to be in panic mode. While most of these people might not pose an immediate threat, if things get bad enough those once nice neighbors will quickly become unpredictable. You must have a plan to deal with those that failed to prepare.
- If you live in a high density population center, you immediately put yourself in danger and make your chances of survival lower than if you lived in a rural area. While I’m not saying bugging in won’t work in an urban setting, it will become increasingly harder as the severity of the disaster increases. If you live in one of these urban areas, you need to seriously access your situation and understand the dangers associated with urban survival.