before you bug out
Tips & Tricks

Bugging Out? Let’s GO! But Consider This First…

Bugging out isn’t something you just decide to do. See why you should bug out, how, and where to go. What about food, supplies, protection, and more??

Bugging out is like the prepper’s go-to answer for almost every situation.

In fact, you could divide most survival situations, and the minds of many preppers, into two main types – bugging in and bugging out.

Basically that means surviving a disaster at home, in other words staying rooted and not leaving, or leaving your home for a place that you feel is safer.

The pro’s and con’s of both are many, but in the end it’s really not about a personal choice but rather what the situation calls for.

While I make no assumptions about which is better, today I’m going to focus on bugging out for a serious long term survival situation.

What Are You Going To Do?

Your reaction to a situation should be based on wise choices, not a mantra of bugging out at all costs.

For example, you can’t bug in when a massive wildfire is bearing down on you, but bugging in might be your best bet for a snow storm.

Then again if you know some disaster is coming that might put you, your family, and your house in danger, you would be better off bugging out.

Natural Disasters
For natural disasters, the choice to bug in or bug out is a mixed bag. Many of these situations come down to your call. Tornado’s pop up too quickly to bug out for in most cases, and hurricanes can go either way depending on your distance from the eye of the storm.

If any storm is going to cut the electricity or water for days or weeks, then bugging out to grandma’s house sounds like a solid plan.

When It Hits The Fan
But what about other serious situations, like riots or major power outages? You don’t want to be stuck in the middle of a riot, or be in a big city at all, when the SHTF.

And when the SHTF hits the grid, your electricity and water and everything else could be disrupted for weeks (or years!). So, what would you do then? I plan to bug in for as long as possible and be ready to bug out when absolutely necessary.

Preparing now for both bugging in and bugging out is the ultimate answer. If you are prepared for a major long term survival situation you will be able to better handle short term survival like an ice storm as well.

Why Leave Home Sweet Home?

First off what would make you decide to leave your home? There are many different scenarios that can play out in a survival situation.

As you can see in the situations above, your home may not be safe due to social unrest, or a natural disaster may be threatening the area where you live.

Or we could be talking about something much more substantial, a true SHTF scenario.

And then again, there is always the reason that you may not want to be found by some group or possibly even a three letter agency.

BTW, we’ve written some extensive article on staying under the radar and the art of hiding in plain sight.

Where Are You Going?

This needs to be planned now, don’t wait until the mob (or snow) is beating down your door to pick a place to go. Have a pre-planned place to go mapped out in advance.

Having a safe place with family or friends is ideal, but even then something could easily force you to head for the hills. That’s what we call Plan B. Always have a secured place to go from your current location.

In a perfect situation you would build a bug out location (BOL) in advance, a survival retreat set up so all you have to do is show up.

A BOL doesn’t have be fancy, it could be nothing more that a cache of supplies buried nearby, deep in the woods near a spot where you can make camp. Or it could be an idealistic hidden cabin in the woods if time and budget allows.

Just Hunting For Food?

When we’re talking about long term survival SHTF, most people have this idea that they’re just going to grab a gun, run off into the woods, and food will magically fall into their laps.

If there was a top 10 list of the worst prepper assumptions everyone makes, I think the ability to easily find game would be in the top three.

To make matters worse, many of these people won’t bring food because they are just so sure it’ll work. Many of them have never hunted in their lives…

Listen, that all sounds really great in your head, but animals get jumpy and scarce right now by the end of a short hunting season.

Now imagine the available game in your area when dozens or maybe hundreds of people start loudly tramping through the nearby woods. There will be none!

What doesn’t scamper off away from the hoard of inexperienced hunters will be over-hunted to extinction.

Remember that no idea is truly unique. There are many people that have the exact same idea as you and they will ruin it for everyone, so…

Build or bring a stockpile of food….

PLUS traps and snares….

PLUS a way to hunt….

PLUS a wild edible book for your area….

The perfect set-up is to have a permanent survival camp ready to go in a secluded spot with some supplies already there, but for the most part that is simply not practical.

This is exactly why we prepare NOW.

What About Supplies?

The list of items that you should consider for a bug out bag is lengthy and numerous. That’s why we review all of it and make a new check list every year of the best gear for your bug out bag.

Here’s this year’s article (at the time of writing), but you can also find the latest version on the sidebar.

If you’re planning to bug out to a friends or a relatives house, work with them to stock some supplies ahead of time as well as stocking your home in case they need to come to you.

And if you are working with another person, have some type of communication other than a cell phone since when the power goes out the cell towers eventually will go down also.

You also need some way to communicate with the outside world anyway, like a portable handheld ham radio.

Are You Bringing Real Protection?

As we talked about above, unless you are very secluded and far out in the country there will be others trying to survive near the area where you are at.

Almost all of them will not be prepared.  Many of them will not be honest or nice. Some will be criminals and thugs.

If the wrong people see that you have supplies there is a high chance they will try to take them. Even the honest good folks can turn bad after watching their child starve for weeks.

At that point, when they become aggressive, do you fight or lose it all including maybe your life? A good handgun and a good multi-purpose rifle will serve you well for protection and what little hunting you may be able to do.

Final Thoughts

Planning is half the battle. Without a plan you become a refugee instead of a survivor.

When you build a bug out location… don’t just build one, build two or more in different areas. If you have more than one friend that lives out of town, set up a plan with as many as you can.

Survival isn’t something to procrastinate on. Practice and then teach someone else.

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Sergeant Survival

I spread the news of disaster preparedness and homesteading skills to the masses. My mission is to teach the keyboard commandos out there some real life skills.


  1. This post serves as guide to all the survivalist who wants to explore. I’m glad that I have known enough why I should bug out, how, and where to go.

  2. A bug-out location that is occupied is the ideal, like grandma’s house. However, an unoccupied cabin is less secure. Reading about squatters greeting returning vacationers, with the vacationers able only with difficulty and much time to reclaim their house, I would be concerned about that unoccupied cabin

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