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I admit, I have been a prepper—to various degrees—for decades. In that regard, my plans have always been to bug out if things got rough.
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If you can imagine going into a big underground bunker full of Preppers who are getting ready for the next Emergency and shouting that question; you will get as many answers as you have people. In reality, there are only a few common calibers but each person will have their own reason, preference or bias toward one and they will tell you in a very matter of fact tone, their choice and more importantly why you should take their word as the Gospel.


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Actually, it is probably simpler but just as much fun to pose this question in a survival forum and watch the sparks fly. The factors that drive each person to reach their own personal decision are too numerous really to discuss in detail, but I will attempt to add my own opinionated two cents to the already well covered, I know argument and in doing so, completely invalidate everything I just said above.

The reason is that I believe there is only one real answer to this question in almost any situation and my way is the right way. Most of the time. This may or may not coincide with the belief that you will never come back. A common example for Bugging Out is people who are forced to leave town due to a natural disaster like flooding or a Hurricane.

They pack up their cars and get out of dodge. When you Bug-In you are staying put in your home with your supplies intending to ride out the storm or chaos that is coming. To answer this for yourself, you have to ask several questions to determine which is the better option for you in your circumstance. The questions are pretty basic and revolve around:. Your Situation — can greatly affect the decision to Bug-Out or not and you have to decide when you will actually make the choice to go.

If you are planning for an economic collapse, what events will trigger you leaving home and heading somewhere else.

Bug in or Bug out during Disasters or SHTF

How bad would things need to get before you made that call. What if you are away from home? In that case you will be more concerned with getting home. What will your family do until you arrive? Is it the middle of winter and there is 2 feet of snow on the ground? Do you have a means of defending yourself and your family? Your Health — Are you physically able to get up and strap a backpack to your back , walk out the door and never come back? Would you be able to run if needed?

First 10 Bug Out Bag Items

Do you require medication that must be refrigerated or taken daily? Your Dependents — Do you have smaller children who may not be able to travel long distances.

Are your children still in diapers or do they have special needs? Even healthy children below the age of 10 would have a tough time coping with a Bug-Out situation if the event lasted a long time and there was no stability. Are you pregnant? Do you have pets that you would never leave in a million years or that you would not be able to transport? Your location — Are you located in a major city or a rural area with miles around you and nothing to look at. Do you live in a place that would allow you to live if the grid came crashing down tomorrow? I am not discussing whether or not it would be difficult, but could you plant a garden or do you live in a high-rise apartment in Chicago?

Would you possibly need to walk with millions of other people out of the city?


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If this is the case, where would you go? The threat — This one may be the easiest to answer but you will most likely have more than one answer given the specific threat.

If you’re old or if you have certain conditions such as arthritis, you should BUG IN.

If we are talking about a flood or natural disaster and you have plenty of notice you may decide to leave. If we are talking about a viral outbreak or Mutant Zombie Bikers from Mars you may decide to stay. Has your city descended into chaos with riots and fires and mobs of people looting? Your destination — Where are you heading? Do you have a place to go with a survival kit filled with supplies to last you?

If the threat is a natural disaster like a hurricane and you have time, you can probably go stay with relatives for a few days. This may be one of the first things you should think of. Will you pack up the family, load down the car and hit the highway? Where will you go? For me I think this was the first factor I built all of my other choices off of.

I do not live on a retreat in Idaho with 50 acres of land and an underground bunker complete with livestock and solar power. I do live near a large pond in a relatively small city with enough land to have a garden that would feed my family. I would not go driving off into the sunset to try and live off the land unless I was desperate.

This may be the circumstance that you are facing too and when the time comes you have to decide. One factor I really like about the Preparedness and Survival community is the wealth of knowledge and experience we have out there.

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Bug Out Or Bug In? Making The Right Choice For Your Situation

Just like me, everyone has an opinion. Some are based upon experience and others have made decisions after much reflection. No expert can tell you what will work best for you and your family in your situation. Taking all of the criteria above into consideration, I think for the average person with no place to go Bugging in is the best option. You will not be able to walk into the forest, kill deer and squirrels and live like a boss. For one thing you wont be alone.

If you live in a small town or in or near the wilderness, you should obviously BUG IN

There could be millions of others with you too. I have thought long and hard on this question and I know that if circumstances in my life were different I would most likely have a different answer. As it stands now, my vote is for Bugging In. I have all of my supplies here and we live in a relatively rural area.

As much as I like camping, a home is a better place to defend. Could that change tomorrow? Sure it could. I am constantly evaluating my situation and when things change, my plans change. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. IMHO we have to be ready to do both. If the economy comes crashing down? Ready bags. Working on skills first-aid, metalworking etc. Completely agree. If you believe that, sooner or later, things will fall apart to the point where you and your family will not be safe to remain in your home or city, one option is to prepare a survival retreat in a place you believe will be safer.

This is a major undertaking, buying or building a second smaller home, and to help you think about what this involves, I have another web site at www. Consider making this a community project, rather than just a family affair. Since the topic of a survival retreat is covered in detail at my other web site , let's focus on the decision of whether or not to make one. Will I really have to leave my home? Could it get that bad? Will there be gangs of looters breaking into homes?

Could the power grid go down and stay down? No electricity means no water or lights or refrigeration, phones, Internet, stores can't sell anything I'm not predicting anything, but recent history indicates that a grid-down can last for weeks. Picture the worst scenario that you believe is possible and likely , got a clear picture?

Now, what is it like in your neighborhood? Is it a situation you believe you and your family could adjust with and survive in? Or is the thought of staying there too unpleasant?


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  8. If you're worst likely scenario doesn't scare you, then perhaps you will manage to stay in your home. But if you think that trying to survive in your neighborhood will be a nightmare, seriously consider another safer shelter in your Plan A. That means that Plan A is a bugout. Do you have a good friend or relative with an off-grid cabin in a remote location? If so, this would be a good time to discuss the possibility of you taking shelter there, if the need arises. Consider making any modifications and fortifications you think appropriate ASAP, and pre-position food and gear there.

    If you and your family do have to bug out, you will be glad to have a secure, well-stocked shelter to welcome you. Let's say you don't have a friend with a cabin as an option.