The Perfect Bug Out Location Survival Retreat

perfect bug out location

What makes for a perfect bug out location?

I will throw out a few bullet points to get the conversation started.

While there’s probably no such thing in the real world as a perfect bug out location or a perfect survival retreat to call home, there certainly are things to look for when thinking about it or if actually considering a move.

– Water source on the property
– Enough land for privacy & security
– Good soil for growing food
– Climate conducive to growing season
– Like minded people in region
– Away from population density
– Far enough away from nuclear power plant
– Far enough away from a nuclear target
– 2nd Amendment friendly
– Defensible
– Wildlife resources
– Private road to property, good distance from intersecting road
– Far enough from interstate highway systems
– Affordable taxes (can’t get away from that…)
– Natural barriers (mountains, bodies of water, etc..)

More (from some of the comments below)

– Far enough from prisons
– Far enough from interstates and other “lines of drift”
– Reasonably close to navigable water, so boat as BOV an option
– Close to a small community of like-minded people
– Neighbors that you could depend on
– Enough land for privacy and security
– Year-round creek or spring
– Good soil for growing food
– Climate conducive to growing seasons

Some attributes will also depend on one’s personal likes and dislikes, their own preferences, their own unique risk tolerances, and so on…

I’m sure that many of you feel that you’re already living at your ideal bug out location or survival retreat. That’s great! I made a move several years ago to my own ‘survival retreat’. Although it’s not perfect, it fits with my own personal situation for the time being.

Lets hear from you.

If you’re already living there, what attributes do you consider especially important?

For those who do not live in their bug out location (probably the majority of preppers), what attributes would you consider to be important if you could live in that ideal location?

More: Safer Survival Distance From USA City Hordes

More: Safe Distance from USA Nuclear Power Plants?


  1. – Far enough from prisons – state and federal.
    – Far enough from interstates and other “lines of drift”
    – Reasonably close to navigable water, so boat as BOV is an option
    – Construction of concrete block (storm and kinetic protection) with metal roof (storms and fire protection)

  2. Good day, Everyone,
    Interesting topic and a good one too…
    I agree with your points Ken…
    After I read the topic today I was looking a population density maps for our state…
    Where DH and I would really like to be is in an area not too far from us of about 25 people per square mile
    Right now we are in an area 100-250 people per square mile – that is beyond the main suburban area…so we are in between country and suburbia….
    While we are very thankful for where we are for many reasons, it would be great if by our senior years we could be in that cabin somewhere in that location we enjoy…
    PS my DD said just the other day, Mom when are you and Dad going to get a bug out cabin? I am so grateful that she sees the value of something like that, hopefully she will get to live her dream of her own off grid cabin in the future…
    Peace out friends :)

  3. Bought my place 2 years ago but still live in town. Doubt we will ever move out there as I use it as a weekend getaway and place to hunt.

    Last place on a private dead end road. The entrance over 1/2 mile can be gated easily. Great hunting, good grass for my cattle and rebuilt the stock tank to 15′ deep 3/4 of an acre. I catch water from over 300 acres around me and I figure I have 2.5M gallons in the tank. County water and a well are to expensive so I built a rain catchment system off both barns. A 1″ rain nets me 900 gals off the big barn and we recieve 30″+ per year. Still working on the plumbing and UV water filtration system. For the travel trailer in the barn.

    Great soil for a garden. I had the Ag extension office complete a soil sample so I know what to add for fertilizer. Existing pecan trees on wet weather creek that feeds my tank. Plan on planting 5 + of numerous varieties of fruit trees to increase production. I am 50/50 between grass pasture and heavily wooded area. I have one large neighbor on2 sides being over 250 acres and one small neighbor 25 acres that backs up to a 450 acre place. Only 2 families live on the private road and we all seem to think similarly.

    Overall a nice quiet place to spend the weekends.

  4. When I was a kid I dreamed of living in a floating dome, following the jetstream around the world. That alternated with under the ocean. Domes large enough to grow the food I need, and NO NEIGHBORS. I wonder how goats and chickens would take to that? :)

    1. I’m also keen for that. The fun thing is: it’s scientifically feasible, and if house prices keep going the way they are, it won’t be more than another decade or two before they’re economically feasible as well…..

      1. It wouldn’t be that complicated. 100% water recycling, additional water if necessary condensed from the atmosphere around the dome. Similar for the air. They now have countertop water condensers that can take 2 gallons of water from the air per day in a low humidity environment. The most complicated part would be the seal technology.

        1. Instructables has instructions how to do the water from air using a new room dehumidifier, and a water filter system. . toatl cost depends on which dehumidifier ( size=how many liters/quarts are pulled from the air in 24 hrs) you choose and which filter system you choose. lists other items needed to do it and none of others are expensive, most of which we have…. scissors, clear tubing for collecting water, water collection container..additional filter for air, have to clean the new dehunmidifier thoroughtly. since we already have water filter could do it for cost of dehumidifier.

  5. We are here, 1 person for every 3 square miles. Climate is good for growing, taxes are extremely low, lots of wildlife and extremely 2nd amendment friendly. Now the cons, water problems, we have a good well but rich people from Italy want to drill thousands of gallons of our aquifer a month and sell it, wonderfully isolated but far from doctors if needed, or any commodities, the soil is horrid but it made us be inventive and we now have a huge garden and orchard. Police presence is very limited, about 1+ hour wait if you call, so we mostly settle any problems ourselves.
    All in all a good move and we could live here comfortably without electric or any modern conveniences, we did for several years when we bought the property.

  6. Great topic in that it gives one room to think and dream on.

    I like living in the suburbs of a small town. My small town is 15 miles away from the Capital City which is where I have to work. My wife loves our current house and location. I love our current house location and neighbors.

    I count myself fortunate that in my life and career, I have been able to live and work in some very cool areas of California and the United States. ( Alpine Zone in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, The North Coast of Humboldt County. 30 minutes drive from the ocean in the edge of the Central Valley. California was a land of frost free winters where citrus and avocados were grown and is still a large industry.)

    I am also old enough to see change and remember before and after laws and taxation that drove many industries from California as well. My own tipping point was well documented here on this site. California is now one of the most restrictive states in the nation regarding 2nd amendment rights. Taxes are high enough that I refer to California as the New Jersey of the West Coast. I was there long enough to see 2 governors try to pay state workers in IOU’s (Pete Wilson did for 8 months to health care workers back in 1992). and California was one of the hardest hit states during the housing collapse of 2008 which triggered the Great Recession. Lastly, California has always had a problem with fresh water. There is not enough of it and the distribution of water for people and agriculture will favor those with the biggest and most effective lobbying group. If you are a small farmer or business owner, you will get short changed.

    Still, I meet young people who want to go there. They have to go, get it out of their systems. I grew up there from 1st grade through age 46. The economy of that state alone would make it in the top 10 nations in the world. They grow lots of fruits and nuts down there like citrus, walnuts almonds and the Kardashians.

    I obviously did my research prior to moving as it is never a good thing to move from frying pan into the fire. I now live in an agricultural region within my state living in the foothills of the Cascades. They grow apples, peaches, plums around me and many are trying to get a viable wine industry going up here ( good for Pinot Noir butt to cold for Cabernet grapes.). The primary fruit crops around me are berries. Through my hunting activities, I know and meet many cattle ranchers east of the Cascades. Yes Ken, I am proud to be called a Deplorable. andI am bitterly clinging to my guns and Bible here in my flyover section of the United States. ( Butt I am happy here as well. Find your own bit a paradise and dream on)

    1. “They grow lots of fruits and nuts down there like citrus, walnuts almonds and the Kardashians.”
      LOL!!! :D

      1. Shepherdess & CaliRefugee

        Did ya all notice I was NOT the first to comment, but I was biting my lip HARD!!!!!
        HAHAHAHA :-)

      2. Oh my gosh- that was the funniest thing that I’ve read in a couple of days.

  7. “The Perfect Bug Out Location Survival Retreat”

    Wow that’s a tough one Ken, wayyyyy to many factors to consider for a blanket answer.

    BUT, since we’re talking location here, how about these for starters;
    1. Close (within 5 miles) to a small community of like-minded people, yet people that don’t stick their nose into what type of underwear you’re wearing that day..
    2. Somewhere navigable (walkable, drivable, horseback, 4-wheeler) whereas you could get away quickly and unseen if needed.
    3. Neighbors (no closer that 1/2 mile) with more than 3 working brain cells, that you could depend on and Vise-Versa.
    4. A drop-off place for UPS (not the house), don’t forget Amazon and Wally-World deliver hahaha
    5. A Tax Friendly state/county where they don’t believe that Welfare is a way of life, and if you’re an illegal you’re NOT welcome. Illegal is ILLEGAL, period.
    6. A good place of dirt, some that can be worked for someone that’s not afraid to work and honest days work.
    7. Clean Air, not the smog ridden aftermath of LA, Detroit, Chicago or NYC.
    8. And lastly, somewhere ya can leave the doors unlocked, go to town and come back to find nobody has stolen your stash of TP.

    Is there a “perfect location” …..? Yes, but it is going to take a LOT more work developing it than most are willing to invest. “Instant gratification” is only for a dreamer, those that don’t know what they really want in life.

    The “perfect Location” is what you make of your life, not the “perfect” hunk of dirt.

    Just my 3¢ worth

    1. NRP your number 8, doors unlocked, trip to town, TP stash unmolested conjured up the alternative vision of a golden haired interloper entering and, after a little exploration, going, “This roll is too soft. This roll is too rough. Ah! this roll is just right.” Then you return to find a portion of your stash ‘consumed’.

      1. JustAnOldGuy

        Welllll actually I have left the doors open while working in the Garden or Garage for a few hours and walked back into the house to find a few miscellaneous critters wandering about or eating from Blue’s food-bowl…. HAHAHAHA

        Not a problem, except for the Skunks….. NOT GOOD if ya scare or try to run em off, just leave them alone, and they will leave of their own accord. :-) :-)

  8. Well, looks like I might have a lot of this covered.

    Water source on the property…year round creek, full time spring, plus 2 wells.
    -Enough land for privacy & security… 35 acres. surrounded by lot’s of wooded acres.
    -Good soil for growing food…. no problem with garden and fruit trees.
    -Climate conducive to growing season….4 seasons with mild winters.
    -Like minded people in region… absolutely including like minded law men.
    -Away from population density… unincorporated town, nearest sizable city 150 mi.
    -Far enough away from nuclear power plant…. over 100 mi.
    -Far enough away from a nuclear target…. again, over 130 mi.
    -2nd Amendment friendly…. yes
    -Defensible…. hill top site with clear field if fire 360 degrees.
    -Wildlife resources… deer, turkey,bear, wild hog, rabbit, squirrel etc.
    -Private road to property, good distance from intersecting road… 1/4 mi. private rd with gate
    -Far enough from interstate highway systems…. 150 mi.

  9. We live on an island in the San Juan’s, about 90 miles North of Seattle Washington. We have this great big moat surrounding our location but are dependent on the ferry system for our link to civilization. We are as prepared as we can be with 50 fruit and nut trees, large garden, 2500 gallon water storage and all the other pepper items associated with survival. While we do not fear the Golden Hoard from the cities, many of our fellow islanders are not prepared for any number of potential problems which range from major earthquakes, violent Winter storms or lack of access to food and water. In the event of SHTF scenario there may be more people trying to leave than want to come since food must come by ferry. While we feel we are in a relatively secure location it is not perfect. It is our primary residence however so we will make the best of what we have.

    1. Thats a beautiful area, still vividly remember going and staying all throughout the Sam Juans with my folks and some family friends in the summer of 78, good times.

  10. It looks like it’s all about trade offs. In Alaska it was lots of hunting and fishing and a lot of flying. I was in a good place but was getting to old to handle the winters anymore. Question. You know when you have been in Alaska to long. Answer When you meet a women and the first thing you say is, nice tooth. Came to Georgia found the love of my life and married her. Winters are easier on this old body and don’t have to shovel snow. We live 125 miles northeast of Atlanta in the least populated county in the state. We can’t bug out as my wife’s 94 year old mother lives down the road from us.

  11. Our place is not perfect by a long shot. We live in a small town in a neighborhood of mostly retired folks. Our home is on a city lot that I do my best to be self sufficient on. It has one thing going for it that I will not give up, NO MORTGAGE.

  12. I think I would rather bug in. Thinking about the perfect bug out location is like thinking about winning the lottery… it’s a pipe dream.
    I don’t have the money or the where with all to establish a “bug out location” of any kind much less the perfect one. That’s for the rich and famous, politicians and the very lucky. I’ve pondered this topic over the years and finally realized that there is nowhere on earth we can move to get away from potential catastrophic disasters whether it is natural or man made. The man made disasters are the ones that concern me the most. Nature, I can deal with.
    It’s hard enough for us to lay down roots somewhere and start living a preparedness lifestyle without day dreaming about establishing some fantasy place to flee to in case of a disaster. I would submit we should learn to mitigate the effects of whatever disaster is most likely to befall us based on whatever zone we live in (flood zone, earthquake zone, tornado ally, forest fire zone, hurricane zone etc..)
    Deal with what you have. Study the potential for your area and prepare accordingly. I think if I had to bug out it would be to run away from a hoard of government thugs who were trying to capture or kill me. Just saying.

  13. I currently live on around 5 acres at the end of a 4 mile long road. The road itself has a number of branches that all dead end in the area and there is a total of around 50 families living on them in an overall area of around 10 square miles. The entrance to the area is via a road that goes between two 20 foot high bluffs off of a minor state road that is very hilly. There is no other way into the area. Currently there are more than ten head of cattle for every person in the area plus various sorts of farms. There are also quite a few horses and mules living in the area. A river runs by my property and that river goes through no town and crosses no road before getting to my property where it is over seventy five yards wide.. It also has some of the best fishing (walleye, catfish, and such) in the state. The nearest marina or entrance to the river is ten miles away and down river. There is also an elevated point on a neighbor’s homestead that commands the river between us and the marina and can be used to effectively block any entrance into the area where we live.

    Everyone in the area is well armed as there are coyotes, black bear and other predators in the area. (On Christmas day we hear gun shots all day long as people take their new guns out for test firing.) We also have large populations of deer, feral hogs, snakes, and small critters like ground hogs, beaver, raccoons, and so forth, Twelve miles to the east of the entrance to our area is a town of 2500 and a town of 3500 lies fifteen mile to the west. You cannot get here without going through either town as there are no other roads into the area. Planes, including commercial jets, rarely ever fly overhead. The terrain is heavily wooded and vertical so movement off road is pretty much impossible. We are around 100 miles from the nearest large city, fifty miles or more from the nearest interstate, are no where near a railroad and not within one hundred miles of a nuclear power plant, military or strategic installation. We are not in a seismic zone and my property is in the bottom of a deep and narrow valley where no tornadoes can go. My home is brick and has a metal roof so it is fire proof and the entire southern wall of the house facing the road is buried four feet deep into the Earth making it very defensible. We are thirty feet above the river and is impossible to become flooded. Our winters are mild as are the summers, we get about 60 inches of rain every year and our growing season runs from March through October. The community itself is very tight knit with the local church centrally located in the area acting as the community congregation point. The people living around here are hard people, but would gladly give you the shirt off their back if you are known to them. Of all the people living in the area, only the preacher’s wife is significantly overweight indicating how everyone is an active hard worker and their properties show it. Never have I ever met people who were more kind, happy, and wanting to help as long as you were a member of the community.

    On my property I have around half an acre in corn and a dozen raised bed gardens. I have two large strawberry beds, a hillside filed with grapes, cherry, peach, pear, and peach trees in an orchard, and a large blueberry patch. I also have large patches of raspberries and black berries that are a favorite of the bears so I have to chase them away (usually with a gun). Beans, peas, peppers, melons, cucumbers, watermelon, zucchini, carrots, onions, and much more grow like weeds here. Wild grasses growing among the fruit trees and in other fields are harvested to be composted and used as a mulch. My neighbors often contribute hay bales as well. This winter I will be putting in a water well and will plumb it into a tank on a hill above the house so I can have water pressure into the house. (If I ever get the money I will set up a solar array to power the well pump.) I am also looking to put in a good size root cellar this winter and then build a greenhouse on top of it.

    That is my survival retreat where I live. It is not perfect, but give me another year or so and it will be very close to it.

    1. @Cleetus,
      That sounds amazing… good for you! What part of the country are you in (okay to be general – just trying to get an idea).

  14. I think hazards are different for different people. I don’t want to put up with poison snakes, spiders, hurricanes, or tornadoes but I’ve become accustomed to cold winters & short season growing. Just got in with DH from picking tomatoes because there is a risk of frost tonight.. We picked another 20 gal. this eve. & our hall is already lined with boxes, & I have 30 qt. canned. So short season isn’t too bad. Of course every growing season is different.

  15. Not so sure there is anywhere to run to anymore, theres people everywhere!
    I used to dream about moving to northern Washington or Idaho or maybe even Alaska, but those days are gone. Life is not so bad on Maui. Im just trying to remove myself from the system and fray as much as possible, i can be warm all year round and we have a nice piece of farmable land and everything i need is here. I just want to putter in the fields, work on some side projects building some cool stuff and lay low. I care less and less every day what the rest of the crazy worldvis doing because theres nothing i can do about it anyway.

  16. I believe we are in our location. We are located on 27+ acres. Included are but not limited to, 2 ponds, stocked with water and fish. We also have a well, but do not use it right now. Plenty of Wildgame. On a hill, if we get flooded, no preps will help. We are 30 minutes from any bigger town or interstate. And about 2 hours from a major mapped city. We are off the road, enough. Like minded people – some. But I dont talk much about that to people. Only close family.
    Nuclear plant – none in the state
    I feel safe where we are at but we still ahve a few things that need to be addressed, as I am sure just about all of us do. Our home can not be seen from road but there are several places where anyone could walk on our land. We are still building fence to at least get a “slow down” perimeter from non welcomes.

  17. I too live at my BO location, but I have all the amenities listed above except water is down the road, across the road, behind the house, and up the road surrounded by the land of lakes with thousands of acres of forested federal land adjoining me. I have demonstrated many times I had made meals from the wild with the abundant resources found here.

    However the list didn’t mention fuel resources for cooking and heating growing on the property. Where I live it is very important and to those who have cold temps where power goes out and bought fuel runs out. It also helps to have building material growing on the land and have trees as a wind block from harsh winds and shade on hot days.

  18. I owned and lived on ideal property that many would die for, and I left it. The one thing that it didn’t have was people nearby that i could help in the event of a catastrophe, or be in touch with on a daily basis on day-to-day topics that touch all our lives. The smug and self-centered live that is all about me just got old and vain.

  19. Our home is on the outer reaches of our small town, which probably has about 5K people spread out. However, our farmstead is two miles south of us as the crow flies. We bought the 55 acres three years ago, it was totally undeveloped and unused for many years. It has multiple water sources, 40 percent weedy fields, and 60 percent wood. It is a deer and turkey haven. It is located on the end of a half mile dirt road, then you go through a deeded right of way- so it is tucked away. The lady who’s family used to own the land is reclusive, but sweet and very knowledgeable. We are in the middle of nowhere and there are no utilities up here on our parcel, which I would like to keep it that way since the companies can spray and cut as they choose for their right of ways.

    We have since built an equipment barn, a medium sized pond, and installed a deep well. We use a couple containers for lock up of feed and small equipment. Also multiple animal pens, some portable and some permanent with fencing around all the garden areas, except the new blueberries bushes (need to get that done) the fencing is needed to keep my free ranging animals out as well as the deer, coyotes bears, etc.

    We have slowly added apple and fruit orchards, many berry bushes, and an expanding garden area. Trying to do as much with hugelculture as possible because the growth on these things is phenomenal! I love this secluded farmstead and I would love to move up here entirely, but not possible yet.

    We are using the animals to clean up the fields and wood lines, also for their poop straw for the trees and gardens. It is a slow but comforting process. We have a tractor, but trying to encourage the growth as much as possible rather than plowing. Most days, I love walking the fields and woods and working whatever needs to be done, but I will admit in the dead of winter when it is 30 below, I get home really quick! My fingers haven’t found a glove yet that keeps them warm enough. The animals that we have carefully chosen seem to thrive in their small, portable enclosures.

    I am not sure if I would consider this a bug out farmstead or simply a more relaxed way to live life to the fullest while having the quiet and peace that God intended us to enjoy. The sounds of traffic and people are not here, just the sounds of nature. Well, actually you can occasionally hear another tractor in the distance from time to time. This is our little peace of heaven on a well protected hillside which would be well suited to continue if this world ever goes awry.

  20. This is an interesting subject. I put a lot of time and mental energy into thinking about it long before it was mentioned here.

    I spent 30+ years in Montana. Had a home in Bozeman. Mighty pretty there, but I never figured out how to eat pretty. Lots of negatives. Mighty cold. Short growing season. High land/home prices. High taxes. Far more “government” than anyone can possibly believe or imagine. Lots of game for hunting, but how to get to it if you have no gasoline? I am a GOOD hunter with both Pope and Young/Boone and Crockett trophies to my credit. I’m familiar with driving long distances through the Montana “wilderness” going to and from hunting areas. Most everything has to be shipped in and that isn’t going to happen in a SHTF situation. The mountains have lots of wood for heating, but if the propane/gasoline trucks ain’t running, how are you going to move the wood from the mountains to the valleys? How are you going to stay warm? Or, if in the event of an EMP attack, few (if any) vehicles are running? I mulled it all over and decided that playin’ “Grizzly Adams” was not my cup and I was going to do something different.

    So, what to do? After spending a lot of time/energy thinking/researching this question, I decided that one of the better places available anywhere in the country was northwest Alabama. I’ll not waste your time listing all the factors that went into this decision, but I will say that there are far more positives than negatives to this area of the USA. Perfect location? Naaa… Not by any means, but you will not find a “perfect” location anywhere.

    I moved from Montana to this area in the fall of 1999 and I’ve not regretted it for a single instant. I bought a section of land and built my cabin on a 100 ft high sandstone mound that is completely surrounded by a swamp. Built a causeway across the swamp for access. Crystal cold springs all over the place. Have a ram pump that operates without electricity supplying 500+ gallons of water each day to cisterns at the cabin. All sorts of wildlife feed night and day on my lawn. More free firewood than I’ll ever use just a few yards from my door. Great growing season and plenty of rich land for garden/crops. And you would need a guide to get to the place. This was my choice for a bug-out/survival location.

    Now, each of you must make your own bed. I urge you to choose wisely and rapidly. It looks to me like you’ll have to sleep in it sooner than you think.

  21. We met some out of state friends for dinner about 30 miles from our new location last night. On the drive home, I commented to DH we got one element of the location right as I saw more each of deer and turkeys than vehicles.

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