Considerations when Finding the Ultimate Bug Out Property or Survival Retreat

Bugout Cabin in the woods

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

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

water source

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

A hidden home

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

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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  1. Dear Ali…………..can you leave that state permanently? Just too much going on there and around it.
    Surprised no one is looking into West Virginia. My feeling a definite plus to be

  2. Looking to find land int he NC western array. Have cash need like 6 to 9 acres but some what level ground as we have a big 5th wheel and semi truck. lets see what you guys have for sale thanks

  3. I Have 282 acres outside of McAlester Ok. 3 bedroom brick house & barn 4 large ponds lots of grass and large creek running through. Great deer, hog & turkey hunting. Sits over old closed coal mine. $600,000.

  4. Nice commentary – I was enlightened by the facts . Does someone know where my assistant would be able to get a sample Condition Rental Property Checklist example to type on ?

  5. I am looking for a piece of land in North Carolina in the mountains for a bug out place. Please help Me. Phone is 870-476-8189

  6. I have an awesome off-grid home and property for sale in northern Idaho. Home, storage structures, orchards, gardens, greenhouse all set up.

  7. We have 59 acres in Oregon Co., Mo, 1/2 woods, 1/2 pasture, small pond, deer, turkeys, near spring river, well, septic, nice 24X24′ garage, foil insulation, 40’X150′ slab w/ 300sf basement/fallout shelter, 40’X100′ curvco bldg/EMP shelter. See listing on or craigslist for 65775. Ran out of money before we could finish buildout. Great bugpout location

  8. If you have had enough of the rat race and are reaching your breaking point and been thinking or looking for a piece of property with no neighbors, here it is.

    This is a very very secluded and private 105+ acres with a two bed-one bath single-wide mobile home.
    With the driveway being a mile long into the woods, the wildlife abounds and there is plenty of room for living off the land. This massive property boasts several awesome building sites and if you’re looking for that family compound, this will fit the bill. There is at least one mountain creek that I know of too.

    It boasts 200 amp service, deep water well and septic, a workshop with power, central heat and A/C.
    So if you’re looking for the ultimate privacy you will be hard-pressed to find something better.
    This one-of-a-kind hideaway is located in Sneedville situated in Hancock County, TN.
    All with a great price of $137,900.00!
    When looking for a property you might want to consider the costs to clear the land put in a driveway, septic, have a well drilled and bringing power up that far. $25-35K? Why spend all that when this one is already done.

    Should be some good food for thought. As an added thought and bonus, Tennessee has no state income tax and no personal property taxes.

    Thanks for looking,
    Bob 423-733-4726

  9. I guess that I should have listed the details as well as my number.

    This 17+/- acre tract is located on Highway 491 in Neshoba County, MS and has A LOT to offer!! We will start with the 4,800+/- square foot custom home that consist of 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms that both have large walk-in showers. This home has a large living area with a custom entertainment center. The kitchen has beautiful custom wood details along with plenty of counter space, built in appliances, and walk-in pantry. There is also a fully concreted safe room, exercise room, large laundry room, and custom office! On the rear of the house is a very large porch surrounded by old growth river birches and views of the lake! What more could you ask for when relaxing in the afternoons!
    The workshop is open spanned and approximately 5,000 square feet. It has 3 automatic roll-up doors, a kitchenette, and full bathroom. It is truly a shop everybody dreams of and it can be yours with this property! The land has rolling terrain, scattered mature timber, fruit tree orchard, and a pond with a gazebo. This property is priced to sell well below appraisal! Text me at (601) 728-2090 for more detail

    I am not going to owner finance and I would appreciate it if only serious buyers contacted me. Thank you for looking. I have more photos available as well.

  10. I DID THE IMPOSSIBLE (according to fellow high level engineers at Clipper Turbine Works). Got a 4 ac. parcel about 2 hours from Chicago,IL.
    Totally offgrid with 6kw tilting solar array and huge Jacobs wind turbine I managed to get to run offgrid when it was designed for grid intertie. Even the Jacobs company could not figure it out. I am an electrical engineer, combat veteran and wind turbine technician. If anyone could do it would be me.
    Outside of rural town of about 300 people, just off the hwy but tucked in a small strip of road with lots of forest and hunting animals, killer views of the sunset.
    We DONT LOCK THE DOORS, all the keys are in the ignition. All the neighbors are cool and own guns. No racism, got like minded people of different ethnic backgrounds. Anyone messes with the property they will have to answer to the neighbors.
    We planted lots of fruit trees apart from the berry trees like I have never seen before. Literally TREES dumping thousands of edible berries.
    Installed a Jack wood furnace, Jack wood boiler, solar thermal system, passive air heating panels. Got standby generators that run on free waste oil.
    System has been running offgrid since about Oct.2017. Comed is mad as hell, always trying to install that ‘smart meter’when they already confirmed there is no grid electricity usage.

    WHY WOULD I LEAVE MY Piazza de Resistance? Well we are Christians but have opposing views on Israel and Zionism. Believe it or not, the family fell apart due to differences. They moved to St. Louis and bought a house in the suburbs without telling me, WTF?
    I have scoured the internet looking for similar properties at ANY price and could not find a single one.
    The house is a loghouse. New roof and water pump. We own our own 1,000 gallon propane tank still has about 650+ gallons from a few years ago. Own well and septic. Even got a steel outbuilding I was supposed to move my projects to. Has a wood furnace just not yet installed (day project).
    It kills me to think that after 20 years off and on, then finally last 2 years full throttle I engineered a sustainable property that is the ultimate SHTF especially for those in northern Illinois. Now considering moving down with the family. Back to square one, albeit infinitely smarter about engineering, and what it takes to truly give the power company the big FU.
    If anyone is interested you need to just spend the weekend here. Seeing is believing. I have some vids posted in Vimeo after I got booted from Youtube with hundreds of vids.

  11. I would think that the best property for escape from the SHTF is western Montana and Wyoming, Colorado mountains, and Idaho. I live in Colorado and near Denver. I like that fact that it is very sparsely populated in this part of the country. If you head out of Denver there are no major cities for about 500 in all directions (i.e. Albuquerque and Kansas City are the largest). A nuclear attack on the east coast will blow away contamination from the Western US. Some kind of attack in California 1000 miles away will dilute and most likely will blow in some other direction like south west. I use to live in San Diego which is a city larger then Denver, but SD is totally reliant on utility services from the LA area. Colorado as a while is self sufficient except for gasoline and of course food (items that can be prepped). I like that we are a mostly self sufficient city. So I guess I am saying that I expect in a SHTF scenario with back talk that Denver is the backup capital of the USA, that the state of Colorado is likely to be sealed off from the general population of the USA in a SHTF scenario. I grew up in NJ and I could not imagine a worse place to be stuck in a disaster scenario. I cannot imagine NC is any better.

  12. Kinda surprised that there hasn’t been a post here for almost two years, especially since corona. We have a great bol in western Montana. A river front home with 8 bedrooms on 22 acres, huge irrigated garden, orchard, pasture, two barns, corrals, additional outbuildings, three extra septic systems, end of road location, completely surrounded by hundreds of acres of permanently gated forest. We are willing to sell or share with others of conservative values. Ray 406-207-0673

  13. I have the perfect bugout survival property!its located on the prairie in Colorado.36 acres and a 2400 square ft bldg,super insulated, and setup grow lights to secretly grow your own food and fish, inside the bldg.n floor tubing,geothermally cooled and quarters inside with the grow area, 3 miles of 1 inch tubing 10 ft underground for geothermal heating and cooling, fully fenced.

    • Have 4 acres for sale very very private full-time stream 1800 square foot home 10 years old perfect bug out place but still close to amenities full-time stream. With turtles .oysters . Clams.etc.500 ft driveway with two circular driveways. Surrounded by hundreds of privately owned acres with plenty of deer and turkeys. Near McDonald Tennessee. 15 minutes i-75 40 minutes Chattanooga 1 hour to Knoxville. Great neighbors>getting ready to list it looking for a ranch with basement for a bug out retreat within close proximity.. like this site.

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