Make the Decision on Bugging Out Ahead of Time

On a trip to Pacific Northwest, as I sat in a nice warm house watching the wind and rain, I thought about what it would be like bugging out under those conditions. Even with a good 4-season tent and sleeping bag like this one, it would be hard to stay dry, even if you weren’t traveling. If you had to move, there is no way you could stay dry, and it would be hard to avoid hypothermia, especially for the very young and old.

As I get older, I’m starting to realize that what I did when I was young and in the military is not as practical now. My body won’t carry as much or go as fast. I guess for my age I am still in pretty good shape, but every year things get a bit harder.

What I am saying is that bugging in looks better every year and bugging out looks like a worse option. Regardless of your age bugging in is often the best option. It has many advantages:

  • You live there and know the neighborhood, including all the ways in and out.
  • You have the opportunity to get to know your neighbors now and learn whom you can count on.
  • Your supplies are close by. It is easy to rotate them and know exactly what you have.
  • No worries about finding out that my bug out location has been looted or occupied by someone else.
  • You can put in a garden and plan for self-sufficiency.
  • No travel under disaster conditions.
  • Your family knows where to find you.

Now this is not to say you don’t need a plan B and C, but bugging out should not be plan A for most of us. Start working on a bugging in plan now. It can involve several steps:

  • Choose wisely, when you pick a place to live.
  • Get to know your neighbors.
  • Maintain operational secrecy and need to know.
  • Plant a garden, become self-reliant.
  • Know where you can get access to fresh water.
  • Plan what you will do with your waste products.
  • Plan how you will blend in and become a gray man.
  • Build a good secure food storage area.
  • Have a plan B and C, but try not to have to use them.

I have talked to many people who have the idea that they can go into the mountains and survive off the land. Most of them are dreaming and wouldn’t last a week in bad weather. The number of people who can really survive of the land is very small, and I’ll bet most of them would prefer other options.

However, everyone should have a decision point that, when reached, will cause them to bug out. Mine is that I will leave when it becomes more dangerous to stay than to leave. I’ll keep an eye on rising crime, nearby riots, significant structural damage to my home, fires, and so on. Determine your decision point ahead of time and if it occurs, leave. Don’t waste time second guessing yourself. As you see that line in the sand approaching, begin getting things in order for your departure.

For most of us, even with a good bug out plan, unless we have special survival training or a good well equipped bug out location to go to, bugging out will be a act of desperation. If we are not careful, we will be little better than refugees, but even that may be better option than dying to defend your home.

Here are some links to other posts on bugging in and bugging out to help you.


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