Whether you live there full time, as a 2nd ‘home’, or a bug out location, it’s a place outside and away from the main stream population.
It is a location for refuge, safety, privacy. It is a place with more freedoms compared with urban – suburban. Ideally equitable for homesteading and self-sufficient ideals. A place where you simply enjoy being – while feeling secure, safe, and at peace.
There are a variety of interpretations – definitions of a survival retreat and its purpose.
Some will lean towards the safety aspect of a remote survival retreat location while taking comfort in being away from mass population density in the event of a major disruption.
Others will prefer the idea of privacy or solitude, off the beaten path, or not being bothered by neighbors all stacked up on one another.
Still others (or a combination thereof) will focus on homesteading there and self-sufficiency aspects to the extent that it may be doable.
There are many various personal reasons for desiring a retreat location, and preppers (and others) today are exploring the possibility more and more.
Some people are already living year-round in a location that many would consider a “survival retreat”, while others may have a retreat location that is only used occasionally, while still others only dream about having their own place.
While determining an ideal location for a survival retreat, a very big concern will be the surrounding population density, which will ideally be low, and some distance away from any large population center.
There are practical considerations while determining the remoteness of a survival retreat.
If you’re looking to live there full-time and you’re not retired, you will likely need to work for income. The more remote you are (the lesser the population density) perhaps the more difficult to find adequate paying work. Note though that you will likely ‘need’ much less money while living this lifestyle.
The further away, the more self-sufficient you must be, year-round. You need to keep in mind the products and services that you may need. Most of us cannot survive on our own without the help or services from others.
If someone lived 50 or 100 miles away from the nearest town (with some stores and services), that someone would have to be pretty self-sufficient and adept at making it on their own (practical skill sets and stocking up!).
On the other hand if that someone is living 5 miles outside a town of 3,000 people, and say 20 miles from a town of 15,000 people, they will have fairly convenient access to products and services they may need while still being somewhat isolated.
An ideal choice of a nearby town may be one of 5,000 or less. Just enough population to provide the basic services that you may need (you can’t do everything yourself – or at least most of us can’t!).
There are so many variables that it really comes down to doing a lot of research in the area, the area’s services, and how it all fits in with your own needs.
How far should this small town be from a larger population center with other services such as quality healthcare, hospitalization, and other professional services? Determining that ideal distance, is an interesting exercise in itself.
What about a worst case societal meltdown scenario? How far might the ‘reach’ be of roving ‘zombie hordes’, gangs, or mobs?
Population Density Maps
For those looking for an ideal retreat location in the USA, I have come across several population density maps that may be useful, and if nothing else, interesting to look at.
USA population density map – 3D view
USA population density per square mile
Urban population density of North America
Based upon satellite measurements of city lights, this image is a map of the urban population density of North America. Most major cities are in level areas along an ocean, bay, large lake, or navigable river. I find it interesting to look at the image until you visualize the light gray areas rising up higher in elevation, and then observe how most everyone lives at very low elevations (dark areas).