Finding the Ultimate Bug Out Property or Survival Retreat

Log Cabin Survival Lodge

When things go bad, having a dedicated bug out location or survival shelter can really help put your mind at ease. Not only will you have a place to go, far from the chaos and dangers associated with urban survival, but you will also have a place where you can safely store backup supplies and equipment.

Bug Out Location Checklist

Here are some of the top considerations that you need to keep in mind when looking for the ultimate bug out property.

Distance should be a big Factor in Choosing a Bug Out Location

United States Map

When it comes to buying a survival retreat or bug out location, location really is the key.

How far is the land from your current location, and are you able to safely make it there during a crisis?

If you’re purchasing a piece of property to serve as a bug out location, then you really need to consider how far that property is from your current home. Unless you have a good refueling plan, you need to really think about any piece of property that you can’t make it to on a single tank of gas.

While having a bug out location far from the danger zone is important, making sure you can safely get there during a time of crisis is essential.

How far is the land from high-density population areas?

If you’re looking for a full-time survival retreat, distance isn’t really a problem. In fact, I would think the farther you can get away from the major cities, the better off you’ll be during a major collapse or SHTF situation.

Population Density – During a crisis situation, areas with the highest population densities will experience the most crime, the most social unrest, the highest likelihood for epidemics, and the highest death tolls due to lack of resources and sanitation.  When choosing a bug out location or survival retreat, we suggest staying as far away from high-density population areas as possible.

Water Availability & Water Sources

Natural Spring Water

A good reliable water source is one of the most important considerations when choosing a bug out retreat. From fresh water springs and rivers to underground well water, the need for a clean and renewable water source is the number one factor to consider when looking for survival properties.

  • Is water available independent of any municipal supply or source?
  • What water sources are on the land, and what water rights will you own?
  • Are they renewable, and will they be there year round?
  • Is the property graded in a way that allows for a pond or cistern to catch rain water?

Hiding in Plain Sight: Keeping your Shelter Concealed

Home hidden in rocky hills

The ability to conceal your site may become necessary during a SHTF Bug Out situation. Having a place that provides adequate resources to conceal your living quarters might be another factor in choosing your location.

  • How easy would it be for someone to wander on to your land during a bug out situation?
  • Do the natural features of the land help conceal and shelter you, or are they an obstacle to using the land? This will be a difficult balancing act!
  • Can you easily secure and defend the land?

Self-sufficiency: The Ability to Live off your Land

Small Farm with a Pond

Picking a location where you can sustain your lifestyle is another important consideration. From having enough sunlight to support a solar system, to picking a location that provides a good amount of firewood to heat your home, the ability to sustain your lifestyle needs to be one of the top concerns on your BOL checklist.

Natural Resource – Another important factor in choosing your property is the area’s natural resources.

  • How easy is it to grow food on your land?
  • Does the area support a decent size population of wild animals for hunting?
  • Can you easily raise livestock on the land?

Consider the Cost of Living and Threats from Government Bureaucrats

Private Property

Cost of Living Issues – Unfortunately, the country is set up in a way that guarantees you never really own your property. From the government seizing homes over zoning issues to having to pay taxes on a property that you already own free and clear, it seems our government always has its hands in our business.  When considering your location, the cost of living needs to be factored into your plan. Property taxes, cost of local goods and your ability to keep up with your payments are all things that must be considered.

Zoning Issues – As we mentioned above, the government at every level has a way of really screwing with your plans. Make sure you thoroughly investigate local zoning ordinances and find out exactly what you can and can’t build, what permits are needed and how much trouble local zoning officials have been to local residents.

Consider Location Based Threats & Natural Disaster Patterns

Natural Disasters

From tornadoes and hurricanes to earthquakes and droughts, natural weather patterns and environmental threats need to be thoroughly researched before deciding on a property. Make sure you know exactly what threats you will be facing, and how the local climate will affect your ability to grow food, hunt and obtain resources throughout the year.

  • Look at the areas historical data to better get an idea what the location might look like in the future.
  • Take into account things like droughts, flash floods, tornadoes, and earthquakes.
  • Look at crime statistics near your potential property and within a 50-mile radius of the property.
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33 Comments

  1. Hello,
    Does anyone know of a good area to buy land for a bug out location in georgia? I’m from Atlanta and have been reading your posts lately and you make a lot of sense. Can you help point out two locations?
    1. one location that I can drive to with one gas tank from Atlanta? that has good resources
    2. another location good for survival as well a few hours away from Atlanta for long term survival?

    • Le, I have 3 acres near Spruce Pine that’s ready to go with buried storage tanks and a 40 foot shipping container that is not visible from the air or road. It also comes stocked with lots of food stores. It has two streams running through it with crystal clear water year round. Many extras are included. Will accept best reasonable offer. Well over $60,000 invested.

    • I have a 27 acre property in NC mountains near Spruce Pine and Burnsville. 4 hours from Atlanta. Off grid log cabin with solar power. 800 feet of river frontage on N. Toe River. 2 springs on property Asking $309,900. Let me know if you are interested.

  2. I would like the author’s thoughts on fire danger considerations as well. Is there a source for past incidence and scale of forest fires by area?

  3. Hey Everyone, I have 3 acres near Spruce Pine that’s ready to go with buried storage tanks and a 40 foot shipping container that is not visible from the air or road. It also comes stocked with lots of food stores. It has two streams running through it with crystal clear water year round. Many extras are included. Will accept best reasonable offer. Well over $60,000 invested.

    • NC MTN MAN I’m interested in the property you have in Spruce Pine…Let me know if still available,look forward to hearing from you…..

      • I have land for sale that would make a great bug out/ prepper property. It is just a few hours from major cities like San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. This property has been privately owned by the same family for generations and is currently the only property for sale located directly on the San Antonio River. Description:77.097 high quality agricultural acres with frontage on the San Antonio River (which is perfect for water collecting and fishing) Fenced with access via private road. (Easily barricaded private road with only one way in and out). 2 Stock tanks (1 with pier built and ready for catfish). Plenty of grazing grass for livestock (Once held cattle, and horses for over 50 years and has been previously farmed for corn and hay, now deer roam freely). Mostly level with nicely wooded area at river end of the property. Natural Texas boar and wild turkey are abundant in this area. This preppers paradise is located on the border of the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone and the Artesian zone; where water collected from the Edwards aquifer recharge zone is pulled by gravity and becomes “trapped or held” within. The Artesian Zone has been be a great source of clear, drinkable water for the surrounding area since 1891, and will continue to support drinkable water for 100 more years to come. Utilities (gas, water, electricity, and telephone access avaliable). Water well property avaliable for sale seprately. No fault line, nuclear or population threats. This is truly a preppers paradise. Take a look http://www.loopnet.com/Listing/18794405/1001-Gutierrez-Lane-Floresville-TX/ or call David George 210-422-1767

  4. I am a Realtor in Wyoming, if someone is looking for secluded property there is lots to choose from. I recently made a deal on 60 acres with well and electricity for $80K there are good properties if you know where to look.

  5. Forget it,
    I’ve purchased 80 hectors and 1200sf cabin in the mountains of central Mexico.
    Super good people, very accommodating, ample clean water, fish and wildlife. Soil and water tested cleaner than any of the top 10 rated bug-out areas in U.S.
    Paid less than $25,000 USD turn key.

  6. B”H
    Anyone know of a bugout property off of 17 between San Jose Ca and Santa Cruz Ca? Do people think that would be a good place? I’m afraid it might be too expensive but is there something small out there?

  7. It happened today. I was taught basic survival from age 9. I am former AirForce. I don’t have a degree but common sense flows like sweat. Why is it I can’t find a half acre in Ga, Tn, Nc for say 6000.00 dollars? What happened today? The State Department issued a statement. “Let’s offer ISIS a ” jobs program”. I need a place to go. Why is land for sale in only large tea tracts? I am female, I can survive but I can’t find a speck of land in three states for under 7000.00?

    • Again. No small parcel for 7000.00 or under? Really?
      I can protect a smaller parcel with less than a bigger tract.Maybe buying mountain land is like the government I can’t support, bigger is better and smaller is obsolete, its all about money even with preppers. Good luck to all.”Unapologetically American.”

  8. I have 2 propertys in nortern New Mexico. The first is 20 acres surronded by 1000 acre + private ranches . It has 2 homes that have proven to be very economical . It also has a private road from hiway private bridge across year round mountain stream., also three ponds with rainboww cutthroat & brown trout Elk Mule deer Turkey Bear& Cougar.
    The second is 10 acres not quite as secluded year round stream shares private road with one 3 acre property also share a pond power is also on site.

  9. We already are set up with seven families in northern California at 2500ft elevation, a tank of gas from a large city, and 10 miles out of a town of 6,000 w/hospital etc. But, for a fall back location, should we be eventually over run…. We have scouted BLM and national forests lands, 20 miles further out at slightly higher elevations. Each family has a travel trailer and we could use them to live on free government land?

  10. I have land for sale that would make a great bug out/ prepper property. It is just a few hours from major cities like San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. This property has been privately owned by the same family for generations and is currently the only property for sale located directly on the San Antonio River. Description:77.097 high quality agricultural acres with frontage on the San Antonio River (which is perfect for water collecting and fishing) Fenced with access via private road. (Easily barricaded private road with only one way in and out). 2 Stock tanks (1 with pier built and ready for catfish). Plenty of grazing grass for livestock (Once held cattle, and horses for over 50 years and has been previously farmed for corn and hay, now deer roam freely). Mostly level with nicely wooded area at river end of the property. Natural Texas boar and wild turkey are abundant in this area. This preppers paradise is located on the border of the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone and the Artesian zone; where water collected from the Edwards aquifer recharge zone is pulled by gravity and becomes “trapped or held” within. The Artesian Zone has been be a great source of clear, drinkable water for the surrounding area since 1891, and will continue to support drinkable water for 100 more years to come. Utilities (gas, water, electricity, and telephone access avaliable). Water well property avaliable for sale seprately. No fault line, nuclear or population threats. This is truly a preppers paradise. Take a look http://www.loopnet.com/Listing/18794405/1001-Gutierrez-Lane-Floresville-TX/ or call David George 210-422-1767

  11. i dont know why everyone thinks teh n.c. mountains are the best place for a bug out- when the 150 million people from the coast will flee for the mountains as well… well actually i am gladd you are going there– you are my 1st of several lines of defense b4 they can find me!!!thanksa

  12. I thought I was doing good till I read some of these. Thanks for the eye openers. Ive got a lot of work to do!

  13. We have property in The Bahamas for sale and might have what you are looking for.

    We have an affordable, very safe, and resourceful location on what is called a Family Island. It is a fairly remote location with only a few other neighbors that share miles of beach and rolling hills. The property has spectacular views of ocean and the beach is just steps away.

    The Island consists of mostly fisherman and farmers: Locally grown food (with a 12 month growing season), wild game, and world-class fishing are the way of life. We have all modern amenities with out all of the modern problems.

    The property is ready to build with roads and utilities, also perfect for off-the-grid. We can help you with building approvals and other needs to help your transition to the Island and getting your new home built.

    We are willing to work something out for you to secure this property (if it is what you’re looking for) while in transition. We also provide two weeks free at our Vacation Rental Beach House for property buyers.

    If you would like to know more about this property and what we can do for you then please contact us.

  14. Looking to join other preppers in Franklin NC. Also looking to buy or rent off the grid house, cabin. Maybe something secluded. Is there anyone out there that knows of something. Don’t have alot of money, live on s.s.

  15. I have the perfect SHTF property in NC Mountains. The property is 27 acres of riverfront property on the N.Toe River outside of Burnsville, NC. The extremely well built log cabin was designed by a LEED certified green architect. The cabin is 1,000 s.f. with 2BR/1bath. Very secluded. Powered by 3 solar panels on roof with lead acid battery storage. All lights in cabin are 12VDC + 3 inverters. Refrigeration is a Dometic 3-way 12VDC/propane/110VAC. 3 small cleared areas suitable for gardening or small scale pastures. Gravity/spring fed water supply. Have back-up spring also. 2 buried into mountain 20 ft. shipping containers I use for storage. Road system from river to top of property. Elevation between 1800-2300. Small creek borders West side of property. Property listed on Zillow with pictures and price. Look under Roses Branch Rd. Bakersville, NC

  16. What happens when the ground shakes? Your assuming your going to live in the mountains, You will have volcanic explosions with lava flow,
    Consider living near a lake or river, What happens when the ground shakes, as another scenario, The land shifts, the water from the lake splashes violently and there goes your home, similarly near and water such as a creek or river, your water could be gone or take your house and in all these assumed survival homes, You have to consider those going under ground, It is possible if your living in the mountains or anyplace, if the ground shifts, which is expected, SOON< as pointed out on the west coast and east coasts, they expect a tsunami and or an earth quake of possibly 9 or higher, Do you think all these assumed hideout will protect and save your family or your life,
    You will probably be better off living in a simple home, away from the cities, where you can access food, such as wildlife, that come and go as on the prairies,
    But what about energy for yourselves,? You think fossil fuels will be around after the next disruption by accusing others as your problem marked by war? Not a chance, It is also a known fact that Governments and the elite are seriously concerned about this, and have headed many of them to their hiding places even underground
    But unfortunately these people are not god fearing people and will entummed themselves in their glorified shelters,

  17. I have a great Survivialist property listed near Hawkins Texas. Would love to know how you guys feel I should Market it.

    • Laurie. See if you can qualify on Survival Realty. They will probably direct you to a local agent, as they did me, but so far there is not a lot of effective database information in the search engines for people to look at. The agent they directed me to was in Southern Colorado and they had no license to list in New Mexico. I know that here in Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado the agents are “savvy” on such properties, but I was told Cragislist is the best method out there now.
      This is pretty lame if you know the truth.
      Realtors should really take this to task.. I think Realty Trac, Zillow, ect… all of them should have a selection “survivalist property” for buyers seeking them.
      Texas is going to be an interesting place to move to soon once the succession from the Union of most of the former Confederate States happens. It is a fact the first serious steps of succession have begun.
      D.C. is having fits about Oklahoma insisting they are a Sovereign State and not beholden to anything the D.C. crowd are attempting to force on the State! The Lone Star being a leader on insistence of States rights is very well known, and I would not be at all surprised to see a State Congressional bill in Austin begin Constitutional Amendment for States rights of Succession. In fact..Texas is the only State that has had active political persons working to include a Succession Amendment ever since the War between the States. The original U.S. Constitution has no such language. If this were to happen I would suspect a lot of SHTF families will be looking at Visa requirements and then becoming citizens of Texas.

  18. This topic has been seriously stressing me out lately. We have young children and live in a highly populated area (SoCal). I can’t for the life of my figure out where we should chose as a plan B, or bugout location if/when SHTF.

    • Ali..much has to do with how your kids will grow up. My wife and I own 50+ acres in a totally off grid home and no where near a major hiway but we are close enough to Taos it is not a problem reaching services or goods. We have to sell our cozy Earthship which has two Yurts and a Shop/garage next to it in order to provide care of my wifes Mom. Her mom lives outside of the States.
      Anyway..all of the folks in our village are preppers of some kind or another, and many are from California or Texas. Lots of Professors live here. I myself hold a Masters in Aerospace Engineering and retired from Boeing Everett in 2013, so I know exactly how city life will drive you crazy. Good decisions are hard to make when you are under constant stress!! It has taken me 15 years to build our safe island in the world but I have no choice but to move on for my wifes mom sake. We’re asking $185K in a place where the closest neighbor 1/2 mile away bought for $900k, but he is not off grid. He’s all electric!! Ouch! Last I heard he is a part time resident.
      Our taxes are $900 a year (which includes the annual trash dump fee) on the 50 acres and our utilities are… well..we have one and that is backup LP to the solar radiant floor heat and hot water heater. $100 a year max. Phone and Satellite Internet access ($120 a month). No need for a 4 wheel drive..I drive our 1965 Corvair in and out most of the time. We have a mid 80’s 2wd Dodge 3/4 we use for chores (not pretty but it does the job). Less than 20 minutes drive is Ojo Caliente spa/resort. As a resident in the area you can go to Ojo for half price during the week (fewer people there then too). The waters are fantastic. You’ll sleep like never before after your visits. Again.. pace of life is about quality..much lower stress.
      We look over the only hard surfaced road through the village and we are adjacent to a national forest at the end of our own road. Free firewood in other words. No one can “sneek in”! Folks here raise cattle, goats, chickens, horses. We have a small Aquaponics system in our attached greenhouse (separate from the living area) so we also have fish.
      Less than 5 miles away is the Rio Grande river which in our part of the State is pristine. Good fishing and lots of activities to do. World class skiing or hiking is not far away.
      No Deed restrictions of any kind. No one cares if you want to shoot your guns, ride your ATV or dirt bike, or yell at the top of your lungs just because that is what you want to do.
      What you and yours do on your property is your business. FREEDOM in one word is reality here. We have a stream that is seasonal on the land but we do not need a well because of roof collection into the cistern. We are not in a drought at all here. I filled the cistern once 15 years ago when new and we have never been without water since. We filter the rain/snow melt water with commercial filters and then use reverse osmosis for final drinking. Our toilets are not to any “code” but they are almost water use free. We use composting (humanuer) methods adopted from the Hunza peoples of Tibet. Living here is a much less stressful life than you can probably imagine now. I remember the I-5 nightmare rat race every day. Not good.
      The way the kids are educated here makes all the difference. Trust us on this.. you HAVE to get them out of the mess! Most children here are home schooled, and they score very high on SATS once they are ready for University education. One young lady of 14 has already learned 3 languages fluently besides English (Spanish, French, Latin) and my wife, who is Russian by birth, is planning on teaching her the fourth language. The attitude held here by the kids is than any Public School is nothing more than a training ground for street thugs, and the kids here could care less about body piercing or weird hair color jobs. You and your family must to get to a place of living in peace, not constant fear. The decision is made when you actually go and see for yourself, just as I did 2 decades ago. No location can be perfect in every respect..but the place that fits you and your family you will know when you are there. smeshno1(atsymbolhotmail,com

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