You may already know a lot about bug-out bags, and don’t even have to be a prepper. Even FEMA is suggesting that people prepare a 72-hour-bag in case they have to leave their home in the case of an emergency. That’s great; but having a bug-out bag isn’t enough.
The big question to go with your bug-out bag is: Where are you going? Leaving home to escape a disaster is a serious decision. Unless you think it through and have a fully integrated plan, you’re likely to end up being just one more person stuck in a FEMA camp. I don’t know about you; but that’s not something I want for myself and my family.
In order to determine where you are going, you have to first decide why you are going. There may be different reasons for bugging out, such as a serious weather event (hurricane), an earthquake or a breakdown in society. Each of these situations has different problems associated with them — different enough to affect your plans.
If all you’re doing is bugging-out to get out of the way of the next Hurricane Katrina or Sandy, then you can probably just go down the road and get a room in a motel a few hundred miles from home. After a few days, you can head back home and see what damage occurred. But that doesn’t work so well with other situations.
If you look at the average bug-out bag, it’s created for surviving in the wilderness. I don’t have a problem with that, because in any bug-out, I believe it’s safer to travel through the wilderness and deal with four-legged wild animals than to travel on the roads and deal with two-legged wild animals. The four-legged ones are more predictable and are usually afraid of man.
Traveling though the wilderness is one thing, but staying in the wilderness is something else entirely. It seems that many people think that bugging out includes staying in the wilderness, even though they don’t have a cabin in the woods.
We all need that bug-out location in the wilderness; even if we can’t afford it. If things get serious enough that there is a general breakdown in society, our only protection might be to get away to someplace where there aren’t many others around.
Unfortunately, there isn’t any such thing anymore as vacant land; all land is owned by someone. If it isn’t privately held, it probably belongs to the government. That means that it is patrolled at least once in a while. If you try building a bug-out shelter on that government land, you’ll get caught, lose it and be fined. While you might not be fined for a shelter you build on someone’s private land, you’re probably just as likely to lose it.
So, how do you find a place to go? First of all, who do you know that lives in the country, on a farm or in a small town? Just because things are bad in the city, doesn’t mean that it will get that way in the smaller communities. Often, they make it through social crises unscathed, going on pretty much as normal, while the people in the city are falling apart.
That person you know out in the country or in a small town could be your answer. Maybe they don’t have enough room in their house for you, but they do have some land. You’re going to be much better off trying to build a survival shelter on some friend’s land, with their permission, than you are trying to build it on public lands. At least you won’t have to worry about them having it bulldozed.
Your chances of survival will be much better with that friend than they will on your own, as well. You can pool your resources and work together to survive. Things like wells and power generators can provide for both of you, reducing your investment in that equipment. Together, you can form the nucleus of a community of like-minded people, who are working together to survive whatever may come.
Of course, you might not know anyone who lives in the country. That would make it hard to utilize that option. In that case, your next step could be to find a small community that you could bug-out to. The country is full of small towns, many of them extremely isolated from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Many small towns have houses, apartments, motels and cabins for rent. While you probably can’t afford to rent one full-time, just to have it as a bug-out location, you can do a little scouting and find out what’s available. That way, when the time comes and you need to bug-out, you would have an idea of where to go.
If you pick a small town as your bug-out location, pick one that offers several different places to stay. You can be sure that you won’t be the only one bugging out, or even the only one that ends up in that town. If you only have one option available, you might find that you suddenly don’t have any options.
Staying out in the wilderness should only be considered as a last resort. Not because there’s anything wrong with living in the wilderness, just because living in the wilderness is much more work. Building a semi-permanent shelter with what you can carry in your bug-out-bag will be a big enough challenge for anyone. If you have to bug out close to winter, you’ll be in trouble.
Even so, there are things that you can do to make a bug-out into the wilderness more survivable. First of all, scout out some locations where the landscape makes it easy for you to build a shelter. Rock formations, deadfalls and caves all make a great start to building your shelter. With that start, you can speed up the construction process and have your family in shelter much sooner; perhaps even before the snows can come.
If there is any way to pre-position supplies near your bug-out location, take advantage of it. I’m not talking about hiding supplies in a cave in the wilderness, but of hiding them in a storage area that you rent in a nearby town. That will keep others from finding it, while making it accessible when you need it.
With a plan for where to go, you’ll be much better off when the time comes. You won’t be wandering around trying to find someplace, you’ll have an actual destination. That will get you out of travel mode much quicker, so that you and your family can be settled into your new home.