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Bug In Or Bug Out? Why Conventional Wisdom May Be Wrong

Image source: Politico

Image source: Politico

During a serious threat or disaster, all of your prepping and preparedness will come into play. But you will immediately be confronted with a major decision to make: Do you bug in, or bug out?

Each one has its advantages and disadvantages.

Bugging in is very similar to digging in or fortifying. You simply remain in your home and decide to hold out.

Bugging out means that you decide to book it; you pack up and evacuate your home as soon as possible.

Whether you bug in or bug out could be a life-and-death decision not only for you, but for your family as well.

The world we live in today is filled with threats and risks. The economy could tank. Terrorists could strike. The grid could go down. A natural disaster could wipe out nearly everything in your area.

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It’s a fact: Fewer and fewer people trust the government or the “system.” As a result, many of those people have turned to survival and preparation. They’re not the stereotypical preppers seen on reality TV. They’re simply neighbors who are buying a gun or setting some supplies back for what they think could be the inevitable.

So, should you bug in or bug out? There is no definitive answer to that question in general, but there is a definitive answer for you. You must carefully evaluate your specific circumstances in the event of a disaster, and then make that snap decision.

First, evaluate what limitations and dilemmas you face regardless of bugging in or bugging out.  Are you and your family in very good health? What is the age of each member of the family? What is the climate outside? What geographical location are you in? What is the population of the local area? Do you have any strong relationships with local friends or family members? Is your local area under immediate threat? Is your home easily defensible?

Bugging in may be a better option if the current weather outside is harsh, if your children are too young to travel, or if you have strong bonds with local friends and family members.

But if there is an immediate threat to your area, then bugging out may seem more viable.

There are risks and rewards with both bugging in and bugging out. For instance, if you bug in, then you already know the area, you have all of your supplies with you, and you can form strong alliances with your neighbors or your friends and family. But at the same time, your area could be dangerous and under immediate threat. For all you know, you could be right in the middle of the chaos.

If you bug out, you can link up with friends and family outside of your local area, and can also make it to an area more supplied and more easily defensible than your home. But traveling is very risky. Not to mention the endless lines of traffic, a lot of desperate people, and you can’t control what goes on around you.

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With the risks and rewards of bugging in and bugging out defined, you still may be undecided at which is the better option.

Here is a general rule of thumb when it comes to bugging in vs. bugging out: You should only bug out if staying in your home is likely to bring imminent injury or death to you and your family, and if you are more likely to survive on the open road than fortified in your home.

How do you know if you are more likely to survive on the open road than fortified in your home? Ask these questions:

  • Is my home easily defensible?
  • Do I have a safe room in my home or property?
  • Do I have a good mode of transportation if bugging out is necessary?
  • Do I have adequate supplies of fuel at my home to last at least a month?
  • Do I have an alternative source of electricity at my home?
  • Do I have enough food to provide each member of my family (or group) with 2,000 calories a day for at least a month?
  • Do I have adequate supplies of drinking water (at least one gallon per day) and cleaning water to last for at least a month, and the ability to purify new water?
  • Do I have weapons at home?
  • Do I live in a more rural setting, away from urbanized areas, but close enough to town?
  • Do I have strong support and good relations with the rest of my community?

If you have answered yes to many of these questions, then bugging in may be a more viable option to bugging out. But once again, only you are aware of the circumstances that pertain to your particular situation, and therefore, only you can decide.

When disaster strikes, are you more likely to bug in or bug out? Share your tips in the section below:   

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