14 Things to Consider If You Choose to Bug In When SHTF

I believe that for many of us sheltering in place, or bugging, in will be the best choice if everything hits the fan, such as a major pandemic as depicted in this book. The only way I will leave my property is when it becomes more dangerous to stay than to leave. Becoming a refugee isn’t an attractive option.

Now, that doesn’t mean that I won’t have a plan B for leaving, but if possible, I plan on bugging in. I know this area well, I have family and friends close by that will help, and it would be hard to duplicate what I have here in a second location. I suspect the same thing applies to most of you.

I have spent some time thinking about what you have to plan for when bugging in, and there are 14 major categories to consider as you prep. These are not listed in any order of importance; you’ll have to determine which are the most important to you, depending on your situation.

 14 Things to Consider When Bugging In

  1. Fire – Both wild land and structural fires need to be taken into consideration. Take into consideration whether or not you will have open flame devices for cooking and lighting, and if so, having several fire extinguishers is a necessity. Learn good fire safe practices and have fire extinguishers on hand.
  2. Security – This is a hard one to advise you on since it will depend on the type of home you are securing and the area in which you live. However, one simple step is to think in terms of securing a perimeter in some way and making your home unattractive to looters or others. The less people can see, the better. Keep your preps and other supplies hidden. Watch for prying eyes.
  3. Sanitation – This includes the ability to keep yourself and your clothes clean. Have the supplies on hand to wash your clothes, dishes, pots and pans. You need to have a plan to dispose of bodily wastes, and bags like these can help with that. This can include burying them or using them for fertilizer, or a combination of both. I recommend buying the book, The Humanure Handbook, and learning how to use human waste as compost.
  4. Trash – A large pile of trash can be like putting up a billboard advertising you have supplies. Think about how to reuse your trash. For instance, tin cans can be flattened and the metal saved for future projects.
  5. Water – You need a substantial water storage and a way to replenish it. Don’t forget the supplies to filter and purify contaminated water. The Berkey water filter is one of the best and can filter just about every contaminant to make water safe.
  6. Medical – Have on hand a well-supplied medical kit and the necessary prescription drugs that you require. Here’s a list of medical supplies that most people overlook.
  7. Food production – Develop some means of producing addition food to supplement your food storage.  This can be in the form of a garden, raising small animals or both. You can do this on a much smaller piece of land than you might think. You should also know what plants are  growing wild in your neighborhood and how to utilize them.
  8. Communications  – I recommend that you have at least short range radio communication with close family and friends. Read, Strategic vs Tactical Radios for Defensive Use.
  9. Food storage – In my opinion, you need at least a one year supply of food and the means to preserve any additional foods that you can grow or gather. Learn how to safely forage and where to find free food to supplement your food supply.
  10. Electricity – This can be as simple as a generator or solar panels to recharge batteries.  Remember generators take fuel and make noise and you should have a repair manual to make sure your generator remains operational. Solar panels, depending on their size, can be highly visible.
  11. Build trust with your neighbors – Having friends and family close by that you can count on is very important. I will help a good neighbor to the best of my ability, even if he is not a prepper, if I can count on him for support and help with work.
  12. Shelter – This includes protection from heat and cold. Have the means to keep your family warm in the winter and cool in the summer. One of the easiest methods for staying cool is to have a number of battery-operated fans in different sizes. If you live in a cold climate, have plenty of fuel on hand to stay warm.
  13. Food preparation – Have the means to cook and prepare your food. This can consist of things like Wonder boxes, Sun Oven, Coleman stoves, kerosene stoves or wood stoves. You should have at least 3 different methods for cooking food and they should all use different fuel types.
  14. Plan B – Always have a plan in case it becomes too dangerous to stay.  This should include a bug out location and the necessary supplies to get there.

This type of planning is always a work in progress. Don’t say, “I am ready”, and rest on your laurels. Always keep improving your position.

UPDATE: This article was updated on July 25, 2016.


11 thoughts on “14 Things to Consider If You Choose to Bug In When SHTF”

  1. I agree mostly with what you say but I do not agree that electricity is a necessity. Unless someone in your family depends on a medical device that requires electricity, it is a luxury.

    1. I live in the S.E. where hot and warm weather prevail most year round. Bathing in creeks, lakes would be an option. Up N. electricity would be more of a necessity with cold weather for heating, showering, but clothes washing would be a hassle all over. Here’s something a friend did and later I did. Buy bed sheets all polyester (drys fast lighter wt.) microfiber. Poly. pants, shorts and shirts quik dry and comfy in warmer weather. Keep these aside incase grid goes down. I wash in cold water anyway, hardly use a dryer, line dry or hang dry. Power needed to flush toilets from the pumping station would create real problems if power went down longer than few days. For hurricane prep. people stock 5 gal buckets to flush toilets. usually generators are a back up for several days until power comes on except during a flood when sewage backs up. Long term grid down would create real issues for sanitation. Most of us know no other way to live w/no electricity, those born after ww2.

  2. The use of electricity can cover a wide range, I would not use it for normal uses. But it would keep my batteries charged for my radios, flashlights and other small devices. I may use a generator for the first few days while I preserved the meat that is in the freezer.

    1. #12 shelter. a very good, warm and cool, portable, quick and easy AND low cost shelter is the hexayurt. hexayurt.com and youtube. most plans show it being made from 1/2 inch stock. the same plans,me with some modifications, can be used with 1″ and 2″ stock. remember that fire usually produces smoke, and requires fuel which must be hidden. stock up with appropriate quantities of wool clothing and blankets. why wool? wool lasts longer and is warmer than most materials and is semi fireproof. when you think that you have enough. get more. consider the long cold nights and be thankful that you purchased three more wool blankets. blankets may also be used durring daytine as a warm wrap. Amazon – wool blankets

  3. You really mention some very important aspects to consider if the best option to the emergency is bugging in. Sanitation is something that we don’t give the importance it deserves, especially if the emergency requires us to be without potable water for a long time. The idea of using human waste as compost is brilliant, I’ll look further to that. Thanks for sharing!

  4. America is the daughter of Babylon in the Holy Bible
    Jeremiah 50-51
    Revelation 17-18
    God tells us many times to leave Babylon
    I am a poor man
    I don’t have money to stock up n prepare for anything.
    I am trying to leave America by walking to Argentina the last place I expect to see Islam.
    Revelation 17:16-17
    God put it in their hearts to burn her/America with fire.

    If God is bringing the destruction – then why fight against it?
    Obey God n leave while U can!

  5. Storing a years worth of food would fill a small house …at least most of the rooms and remember when hungry rioters or gangs find out about your stash they will kill you and your family to save thier own lives…water and lack of it will drive people out into the country if town supplies are cut off…here in NZ our creeks and rivers are polluted from dairy farming and 1080 pellets dropped in or near waterways so even a swimming pool filled with water wont last a year…and not everyone has a pool…hste to sound negative but it is what it is.

    1. Freeze dried food if stored in stackable sq buckets a 4×4 foot space 3.5 feet tall is 2.2 years for one person. Legacy foods offers and is 2.2 years at 2,000 call a day. As most homes have about 8 feet of clearance can store 1.1 years of food for 4 people in a 4×4 area 7 feet tall. And freeze dried is one of the bulkier methods of food storage.

      Another idea is could store the food under a bed. Heavy duty sq plastic buckets could replace the needed support of a box spring.

      If had 1 spare room say 8 ft by 8 feet could pile in 17.6 years of food (decide by number of people) as well as 2.2 years underneath every bed mattress.

      Freeze dried one of more expensive options but you can place most any food storage option in sq plastic buckets to ease in storage

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