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When choosing a location to “bug out” to, there are three very common mistakes people make, each of which could seriously compromise your survival plan, or even worse.
Don’t make these mistakes, and you’ll stand a much better chance of pulling through.
Mistake 1: Head for the hills!
Sure, we’ve all said it, either seriously or in jest. Things go south, we’ll fall back to the mountains and regroup. Especially for those in the western US, the mountains are this near-mythical stronghold full of resources and assets ripe for the picking, and somehow nearly perfectly secured against government intrusion. The reality is much more brutal. Unless you are already intimately familiar with where you want to go, are prepared to not be able to live off the land, and have supplies in place or can bring the bulk of your gear with you, this is a terrible choice.
Not only will every other like-minded person head that way, but in a disaster, roads already will be clogged, and you may not even be able to make it to your location. This one should be saved for the very well-prepared or for those who already live close to the hills and know exactly where they are going and how to survive in the wild for the long term.
Mistake 2: Hunker in the bunker
Close behind heading for the hills, many survivalists and preppers imagine a fortified position they can withdraw to, and either hide while the world falls apart, or even hold off determined gangs of marauders. Raise your hands: How many here have a real fort, or super-secret hidden bunker? Didn’t think so. You might hold off the odd band of criminals, but otherwise your bunker might become your own personal Alamo. Think wisely before committing yourself to the safety of your homemade fortification. You are better off having a few rural acres with a water source, cabin and supplies.
Mistake 3: The stay-at-home survivalist
OK, this one isn’t always a mistake, but a lot of the time it can be. For me, that’s my usual plan. Where I live, the biggest worry is an earthquake. If I’m still alive when things go bad, then I’m good. I keep an earthquake kit stored away from the house, and I can eat and live decent, and probably can help my neighbors some. However, if serious civil unrest happens, I’m screwed, as I live smack in the middle of an urban area.
At that point, staying at home could be the worst mistake I ever made. Take an honest assessment of the risks you face where you live. In some cases, you can almost always stay put. In other cases, you’ll have to be ready to leave. From wildfires, to neighborhood-destroying riots, the risks to the stay-at-home prepper are legion. If you can’t leave, then at least be extra well-prepared. Store gear outside the home, possibly even lightly buried if building loss is a concern. Have a place you can hide in if at all possible. Either way, have a fallback plan, even if it’s just hooking up with your buddy two miles away.
Mistake 4: The isolated homesteader
For some of us, this one may be a dream come true. A simple home, off-the-grid power and communication, a big garden that feeds us and gives a surplus to can, maybe some livestock, good hunting, trees for fuel, and a stream to fish in. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? I know it does to me. At least until something happens that would push me out. One benefit of cities and populated areas is that there are more people and more resources to combat an emergency. An earthquake, fire or flood could destroy all your hard work, and leave you with nothing. If you are one of the fortunate rural homesteaders, you must take extra precautions, because you may be one of the last to get any help in a disaster, and if civil society breaks down along with a grid collapse, you may be in trouble.
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