If you look around the Internet these days, you might get confused about whether it’s better to bug-out or bug-in should a disaster strike. It seems like most of the big name preppers are recommending bugging out, rather than staying at home. But for most of us, that option may not really be all that practical. Being able to bug-out effectively requires a lot of money and a lot of preparation.
Actually, there are several different types of bug-outs that one might find themselves involved in. They differ in the reason for bugging out and the destination:
- Bugging out to another city, because of a natural disaster. Before hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, the government was telling people in the storms’ path to evacuate. In this case, you end up in a temporary shelter or a hotel. After the disaster passes, you can go back home (assuming your home survives the disaster).
- Abandoning your home to go to a prepared location at the first sign of trouble. This is the luxury version of bugging-out, which requires the time and resources to buy and/or build an alternate location and stock it for long-term survival.
- Bugging out to an unprepared location, because you have to abandon your home. If you don’t have a prepared bug-out location and are forced to evacuate your home due to a breakdown in society. This is what most people who bug-out are thinking they will end up having to do. While chances of survival for these people will be better than staying at home to be shot, it will still be rather minimal.
Looking at these options, it’s clear that unless you have a well-prepared bug-out location to go to, bugging out may not be all that good an idea. Oh, I know that there are hordes of people out there who think that they can live off the land; but the reality is that they can’t. Game isn’t as plentiful as it was back in the pioneering days and the population is much larger. With all the people who are thinking they can just hunt for their food; chances are, what game there is won’t last long.
Since most of us can’t afford to buy land in the mountains and build ourselves a nice little cabin in the woods, bugging out may not be the great option that many tout it to be. In fact, bugging out may be akin to signing your own death warrant.
Besides natural disasters, the biggest reason for bugging out is a general breakdown of society. Should that nightmare happen, there will be mob violence, theft, vandalism, and all sorts of crime. Being in the city will be outright dangerous… at least, if people know you are there; even more so if they know you are there and have a stockpile of supplies.
On the other hand, unless you have that well-prepared bug-out location, your home is the one place you have that is best prepared for you to be able to weather a disaster. That’s where you have your equipment and supplies, along with all the other things that you have for day-to-day survival.
It’s also easier to prepare your home for surviving an extended disaster, than it is to prepare any other location. Since you live there, you can drill a well, plant a vegetable garden and start raising chickens; all of which are important parts of preparing to survive the aftermath of a disaster. At the same time, you can prepare your home’s passive defenses, so that you are ready to defend it from any attackers.
The problem that most people have with bugging in is fear. They are afraid that they will be too easy a target for hungry mobs who are roaming the streets. While I’m sure that there is some justification for that fear, I’m not sure that they are thinking things through.
Let’s say that there are hungry mobs roaming the streets and looking for anything that they can steal; a total breakdown of society. Unless you have that prepared bug-out location, where are you going to be able to go, so that you can avoid that mob? There really aren’t all that many options. Other than hiding out in the woods, which is going to be much harder than most people think, hiding is going to be a problem.
The best bet for most people is to make their home look abandoned, so that they can stay there, while making sure that they have the ability to defend their home as well. Making a home look abandoned isn’t really all that hard. All it takes is plywood over the doors and windows and for everyone to stay inside. If no light shows through the windows and no noise comes from the house, it’s going to look like nobody’s home.
Defending that home is a whole other ballgame. There’s a lot more to defending a home than knowing how to shoot a gun. You need to know the tactics necessary, so that you can know how to control the battle. You also need to know how to set up an ambush, so that you can make any fight be as one-sided as possible. Should you have to actually fight against a hostile mob, you need to have a plan to make the battle as short and one-sided as possible.
Part of that is setting up your home in such a way that you have a “kill zone.” This is standard ambush tactics. The kill zone is a place where all your defenders can focus their fire, ending the battle quickly. You need to establish your landscaping in such a way as to channel any attackers into that kill zone.
Let me tell you a psychology secret here. When faced with various ways to get from point A to point B, almost everyone will choose the easiest way. So, if you want to get people into your kill zone, make the easiest path onto your property and to your front door go right through the kill zone. If every other way is harder (fences, shrubs, hedges, locked gates), almost everyone will take the path that you want them to.
A well prepared home, used as a bug-in location, gives you a much greater chance of survival than bugging out to some unprepared location. That doesn’t preclude having a bug-out plan though. Things may get so bad that you are better off bugging out and trying to live in the woods for a while. Of course, if you do that, you should also plan on coming back to take your home back, once the hungry mob has moved on.
Don’t think that you have to have only one plan. Since none of us know what the future holds, we must be ready for anything. That means having a number of different plans; bugging in is just one of them. So, plan on bugging in, but also think through various scenarios and decide what events would necessitate your bugging out. Then, create the best possible bug-out plan you can, with the resources you have available to you.